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Re: Feeding Toc

Hi, Abby,

>If you've ever watched the eventers do dressage at the Olympics, you'll see
that they balance the same issues all the time.  The situation is, though,
that unless you plan to go out and do 5-10 miles during warmup before
dressage, you need to keep the fitness at a level that will allow him to
THINK during your test.>

You've just raised another issue to be factored in.  Because of Toc's
predilections for being a dork in the warm-up arena, most of our warm-up is
done outside the arena, in a quiet corner, which naturally means that I
can't warm up too much.  For the dressage warm-up, I concentrate on lateral
work, transitions, and keeping him light and responsive, and as supple as

>> The XC phase is about a mile, and the speed varies depending on
conditions.  I also plan on hunting him this season, if possible, which is
another reason I want to keep him fit.  And because, in all honesty, I can't
abide the sight or feel of an unfit horse.

>Well, honestly, I think those last two reasons are more relevant than
keeping him fit for x-c.  Galloping a mile, even over fences, is going to be
nothing for this horse.  Lower level eventing is not really a test of
fitness or athleticism.  Around here, they often run the 3 phases out of
order, for management's convenience (dressage, SJ, XC) ... Including
warmup time, I'm guessing you're not even in the saddle for 2 hours.<

Sounds about right.  Some of my schooling / conditioning rides are longer.

>Lots of horses get by on that amount of turnout.  I'd just still keep the
"cooped-up" factor in mind if I were you.>

I will.  That's why, if he wasn't worked the day before, I try to ride in
the afternoon rather than the morning.  Or, if I'm riding in the morning, I
avoid the school and hit the trails.

>Let me put it this way:  I had a friend who sent her horse out for training
(problem was, she wasn't happy as a dressage horse).  So the trainer started
by longeing her for 10-15 minutes each day before she rode her to "settle"
her.  Well, after a week or so, she had to increase it to 20 minutes, since
she didn't "settle" any more after 10.  In another week or so, she had to go
up to a half hour on the longe ... I think you can follow me from there.  <

Yes.  Only, I don't lunge to "settle" him, but rather to get him fit after a
lay-off.  Last year, I lunged him for two months after HS, and then stopped
when he was fit enough to cope with the work I wanted him to do.  I never
lunge before I ride (too impatient to get on!) although I will lunge instead
of ride, if there is something I'm looking out for (why isn't he extending?
Why is he over-reaching?)

>The thing is, unless you're TEACHING him something on the longe, I'd cut it
back.  If you drop it out entirely, of course, he's going to go nuts on

Don't think so.  The end result will be the same : I'll get him fit.  That's
when I anticipate I'll have the problems, unless cutting out his grain
solves them.

>On the feed side, I've recently started feeding a chopped chaff to my Fat
Mare.  She loves it, because I can give her a whole bucket full of food, and
she doesn't have to stand and watch the others eating after she's finished
her meager ration.  I sprinkle her vits on top, mix in her sweet feed (she
does get a little of that) and sometimes cut up a carrot to throw in for a
treat.  First time ever she's felt like she wasn't being cheated.>

Following the posts on RC, I've decided to cut out the lucerne (slowly), and
to give him his vitamins and some carrots in his feed bin.  His vitamins are
molasses based, so should be palatable.  And I'll try putting his elytes in
some yoghurt and squirting them down his throat.  He likes the taste of
paste wormers, so it should be the same (please, please, please)

Thanks, Abby.

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