Check it Out!
Re: arena conditioning/Building strength/flexibility
I'm glad this thread came along, because after joining RC, I
suddenly started thinking "holy cow I have unfit horses" and went all out with
trail riding, avoiding arena work. The result was not as I
anticipated. Toc's aerobic fitness didn't improve significantly, and nor
did his pulse rate. Now, I appreciate that what I was aiming for was a 25,
and maybe a 50, and not a 100 mile ride or anything, but it still surprised
I also realised that MY riding fitness had suffered by
spending more time on trail and less time on arena work. My abdominal
muscles had loosened, as had the muscles of my inner thigh and lower back,
although my calf muscles did strengthen.
Now that my boss is playing Draconian Guard with me and
insisting that I actually EARN my salary, I have less time to ride, and so am
putting in an hour a day in the arena, and doing long slow trail rides on
weekends, more as a loosening / chilling out kind of exercise. I still
believe that the horses are fit enough for a 25 (not sure about the 50) but they
have improved in terms of balance, suppleness, lightness and, perhaps most
And my "spare tyre" has gone.
I'm sure that arena work to condition is NOT the answer for
you guys who are doing SERIOUSLY long distance, but I no longer feel guilty
about the exercise my horses are getting.
PS Another EXCELLENT arena exercise to prepare your
horse for a ride : have ten of your closest friends bring their horses over
to use your arena, and then try to get your horse to concentrate without leaping
out of the arena.
Check it Out!
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