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Yet another conditioning question..

Let me preface the question with a bit of information......  I've had Spirit
(10 years old) 3 years, during the entire time he's been doing LSD (usually
3x/week, two "short" rides, and at least one 3-6 hour ride per week,
primarily trot with a healthy dose of walk/canter thrown in).  We do a
combination of flat (rolling small elevation changes) and  sand work on the
shorter rides, and hill work on the longer ride (need to trailer for hills).
Did his first LD a year ago, another 3-4 during the summer, our first 50
last fall, have done 3 - 50's and 2 consecutive days of 30's so far this
year.  I pulled him at one ride that was very cold and I failed to warm him
up enough ahead of time (slight muscle cramp), otherwise he always gets
"A's" on all checks, and always seems ready for more.

I think I remember TI suggesting to taper back on training in the few weeks
before a ride -- my problem is that for the next 3 or so months the rides
are in most cases 2 weeks apart, but no more than 3 weeks apart.  I've been
easing off on the "training-conditioning" rides during the off-ride weeks
and making them much more true LSD or pleasure rides.  Bearing in mind that
this year I am treating the actual ride as a long conditioning ride (I don't
have a goal of top-tenning this year UNLESS it's a smaller ride, <g>),  what
would be your "ideal" training/maintenance schedule????

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