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So, now that my ring and paddock are both unrideable (ice, ice, and more ice along with some rock hard snow) I've been looking for alternatives to keep my horses in shape. One is my 9 yr old Arabian that I am training from the start (she was a pasture pet for the first 8 years), and the other is my 24 yr old Arabian who I just want to keep somewhat in shape because in the past year his altheticism has declined enough to make me worry. We do have a trailer, but can only trailer over to an indoor sporadically because of the cost and the road conditions. Also, the older horse really won't/can't ride in a ring anymore, so this really isn't a solution for him. Up until now I have been able to continue my training despite the weather, but it is now officially too dangerous to ride.

But, we do live on a dead end road connected to another dead end road. I am also a strong runner, so I thought up the idea that I could run with them (on leads) up and down the road for exercise. Once they get used to it I could even put my side reins on my younger horse so that she can develop her back and neck more. The only problem is that it is pavement. Since I wouldn't be on them, do you think they would be ok to do this a couple times a week? I have front Old Mac boots for both of them so I could put those on for a little extra cushon...maybe even buy/make some pads to put in them to absorb even more impact. I'm just looking for some opinions on whether this would cause more harm than good. Thank you!
 

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I dont know how good it is for their joints. I am no expert! I will be watching this thread to learn more,though. Thanks for posting!
 

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I live in Florida, so I don't know about the ice and snow, but if your ring has ice and snow doesn't the road have it also. I know enough to know that the roads have a crew come and clear the roads and salt them but I would be scared that they would be to wet to trot on. My team is driven on pavement (barefoot) alot, but I don't trot if its wet, due it being slick and the wet mixed with oil that has been dripped on the road from cars don't mix.
If you want to just walk or ride them at a walk, I don't see a problem, but I wouldn't trot them. Just my opinion and as they say everybody has one.
 

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I often walk horses on the road and it has no impact on them. I do short bursts of trotting on the road, and it doesn't seem to hurt them but honestly I don't know. I'm no expert. I see people trotting (riding) on the road and I don't know how their horses go, but personally I think short bursts of trot probably wouldn't hurt them.
 

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I often walk horses on the road and it has no impact on them. I do short bursts of trotting on the road, and it doesn't seem to hurt them but honestly I don't know. I'm no expert. I see people trotting (riding) on the road and I don't know how their horses go, but personally I think short bursts of trot probably wouldn't hurt them.
I do this too. We live on a paved road cornered by a dirt one. To go one direction I have to take the paved road. Vida seems to like going at a faster gait on the paved road and I've never noticed any adverse affects. She is barefoot and although I have hoof boots I've never used them on the pavement.
 

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I walk, trot, canter, and gallop down paved and gravel roads all the time and it's never been a problem. Of course, my mare is shod. I think your horses would be fine though.
 

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A small amount of trotting would be fine. Doing it the right way, your horse can actually benefit from it and it will help condition them. Just be sure you are barefoot and if you do have shod horses put studs or borium on them for traction.

I know a lot of police horses are trotted on pavement for conditioning.
 

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All our mares are barefoot and I do a lot of road riding. Asphalt actually has some cushion to it under the weight of a horse and doesn't bother them at all. Above the walk, though, just remember that although the surface is typically rough, they can't dig into it to get the traction/drive that they do on dirt, and it can be a little slippery when wet.
 

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I would be worried about traction, hooves and pavement don't go together very well... I had a horse jump a fence and run into the middle of a paved road with me on him and his feet came out from under him... I still have no idea how he kept from going down, but I never rode that crazy s.o.b. again...
 

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If they're barefoot, then trotting on pavement is actually good for them. 15-20 minutes on pavement with a barefoot horse will help strengthen and harden the feet, and encourage more compact growth.

BAREfeet on pavement have GREAT traction. I have never had a barefoot horse slip on asphalt, and rarely on concrete. Shod horses are the ones you have to watch out for on man-made surfaces.

If they have shoes, then using some boots might be a good idea, though you shouldn't need pads.
 

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i agree that road work is good for their feet & to strengthen their tendons & ligaments. make sure to start slow & condition them into it. even starting out 10 minutes of walking
 

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I would not really advise trotting on pavement or any surfaces that seem really hard. I try not to trot on pavement because it can damage your horse if you do it wayy to much!!! =/ cantering and galloping on pavement is definitely a big NO! That is one of the worst things you can do. It will damage your horses joints and ruin their coronet bands. One of my farriers told me a story about a girl who used to gallop her horse down the pavement everyday, eventually the horse was in so much pain they had to put it down, because the coronet bands were gone and the horse was running bone on bone.
 

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^^ Well SURE! Galloping or Cantering EVERYDAY for long periods of time on pavement, especially shod horse, is definitely going to do damage. The shoes make the vibration and pounding worse, and cantering while riding is going to be harder on on joints.

The OP wants to TROT, "IN HAND" (not riding), two barefoot horses for short periods of time on pavement. There's nothing wrong with that, especially if she starts slow and conditions the horses to it. It's better than trying to ride or work on the ice! lol

Listening to farriers "stories" can be hazardous to your sanity ;-).
 

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Trotting the on pavement for 15-20 minutes a day should not be a problem unless they already have joint issues. Research horses at the University Vet School I worked at only have pavement to work on as a harder surface than sand. As long as your horse is not slipping, limping,or showing any discomfort you should be ok. If any joints swell, or any other signs of issues show up discontinue the road trotting. My biggest worry would be if the older horse has joint issues. I have not seen one have issues from teh road, but I was not working horses of that age group.

Good luck. I would be very careful of the road being wet or icy at all. :)
 

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With the younger horse, trotting on pavement can really help to strengthen the ligaments and tendons in his/her joints. But built it up SLOWLY. If you go straight in and trot them for 15mins on a hard surface you've got a good chance of doing damage to his joints. If you slowly condition his hooves and joints to the different work, they will get accustomed to this and will actually strengthen to deal with the added stress on them. I'd start with lots of walking on the pavement, then short burts of trot, then work up by a few minutes every few days until your trotting him for up to 20mins.

As for the older horse, I would definately er on the side of caution. An older horses joints are quite worn and trotting on hard surfaces can do alot of damage. I would just walk him up and back, up and back and maye a few short burts of trotting occasionally.

I wouldn't put your younger horse in side reins doing road work. It's not going to build much muscle unless you ground drive him, as he's probably not going to be working actively behind if you're just leading him, so you can't ensure that he's using his back. Plus if he gets loose on the road in side reins, BIG problem!!!!! And if he's not used to them and goes over backwards on the road, you're going to have a horse with a broken neck/back.
 

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BAREfeet on pavement have GREAT traction. I have never had a barefoot horse slip on asphalt, ...
Just safety info...

I agree, but in my years riding on the road, there are a couple situations to watch out for, one mentioned by skittle1120.

- Running from grass/dirt onto asphalt. Your horse is not expecting the change in traction and can slip. I've never had a horse fall, but the experience was similar to slipping while running though mud.

- Very steep hills when wet. Sometimes I ride asphalt walking paths through the woods and some have very steep inclines. Normally we trot up these to maintain momentum, but once I had to slow to a walk to avoid some folks walking their dog. The path was wet, and without momentum, our poor mare was desparately trying to dig her toe in to get traction, but wound up falling on my foot. She got right back up with only a scrape and I had a swollen ankle for a month. I know this is an extreme case, no road is ever that steep, and I've put the experience on my "stupid things that I've done and lived to tell about" list.

Other than that, I've never had a problem on asphalt. I don't go above a walk on concrete, but that's just my gut telling me that, like people jogging, running on concrete might be a little rough on their joints.
 

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I see absolutely no problem with trotting them on the pavement. The only thing that I would be worried about is make sure that there is no ice that they could slip on. I don't like to go any faster than an easy trot when riding on concrete just because I have had horses fall with me but I don't think it would really do that much damage to your horses. No more than you are going to do, I wouldn't worry about it.
 

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a slow trot on pavement i can't see do n any harm to u r horse but be careful they don't have as much traction as they do on dirt. m not tring to a snob been there done it. if anyone wants know what running a horse hard on pavement looks like just stop in an amish community and look at the horses tied at hitching racks in town. u will see all kinds of puffy ankles esp in older horses and horses that get run hard
 

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With the younger horse, trotting on pavement can really help to strengthen the ligaments and tendons in his/her joints. But built it up SLOWLY. If you go straight in and trot them for 15mins on a hard surface you've got a good chance of doing damage to his joints. If you slowly condition his hooves and joints to the different work, they will get accustomed to this and will actually strengthen to deal with the added stress on them. I'd start with lots of walking on the pavement, then short burts of trot, then work up by a few minutes every few days until your trotting him for up to 20mins.

As for the older horse, I would definately er on the side of caution. An older horses joints are quite worn and trotting on hard surfaces can do alot of damage. I would just walk him up and back, up and back and maye a few short burts of trotting occasionally.

I wouldn't put your younger horse in side reins doing road work. It's not going to build much muscle unless you ground drive him, as he's probably not going to be working actively behind if you're just leading him, so you can't ensure that he's using his back. Plus if he gets loose on the road in side reins, BIG problem!!!!! And if he's not used to them and goes over backwards on the road, you're going to have a horse with a broken neck/back.
Great post!

I would definately do it quite slowly and progressively over time. I wouldn't be doing 15 mintues right away. I would do alot of walking on the pavement first, and then gradually build up to a trot in short incriments and build from there.
 

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I live in amish country and you regularly see horse driven at a sharp trot right down the center of the road. They go all over the country like this.
My old endurance horse loped about a mile every time we went out over pavement.
Pecky Heart with Rio use to recommend a mile a trotting on pavement every time you rode to build denser bone.
I see absolutely nothing wrong with you hand jogging the horse down pavement and forget the boots unless you are looking for traction.
I have often taken my bike and let the horse jog along beside it. On the hills I lean over and grab a handfull of mane and let him tow me up.
 
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