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Re: RC: Schooling, conditioning, etc...
Here is how I would bring along a young horse. I feel the horse has to be a
good trail horse first and foremost before he does anything. So the first
year the focus is on making the horse a good trail horse. While you are
doing this you are building up the legs, back, etc. This is also the time
when the vermin would be getting some dressage stuff and some baby jumping,
ie. ground poles, 6 inch jumps, etc. He would be learning to get his
muscles stretched daily at this time.
I would also add that I don't believe the the entire "metabolic system" can
be conditioned in three months. It takes time to build the capillary beds
in the tissue. These aid in delivery of O2 and food and removing waste and
heat. I am also sure that there are many subtle changes at the metabolic
level which takes a year or two to acclimate. I would also suspect the
hormonal and nervous system becomes fined tuned in the control of the
entire process and the timing of the nerve firings to maximize efficiency.
How one would instrument to test this would be interesting. I am also sure
that this doesn't happen in 3 months. Heat dissipation is extremely
important in the regions where humidity is an issues, SE, Central, NE,
parts of the Midwest, etc. This ability has to be developed. I know from
my own running days that my cardiovascular system did not peak in 3 months,
it kept getting better in that the whole metabolic process kept becoming
more efficient. Good hacking around will also support this development.
Anyway after the horse knows his way hacking around on the trail, then it's
time for some rides. I would not start in 50's for a couple reasons. First
at most rides the 25's start last and the front runners will catch up with
the 50's. The first ride is going to be exciting anyway, without the pony
express passing. So a nice back of the pack 25 start - maybe working your
way up as the ride progressed - and a trail ride with vet checks would be
the goal. Also if you were going out and jogging 5 to 10 miles three times
a week, would you start in a marathon? If the first ride is a bad
experience, like he is tired and sore afterwards because 50 miles is a long
way, would he be real anxious to go do it again? The sorest I have ever
been after a ride was after my first 25!
Now how many 25's I did and how I did them would depend on progress. I did
too many with my mare (about 5). We only did one when we started the
AyyyyyyRabbbbbbbbb I'm now riding. My gut feeling (an the rule of thumb
is) if the horse can maintain an 120 heart rate for say 45 minutes to an
hour and recover to 60 or so in 10 minutes then he is ready for a slow 50.
If not then we need more miles on the trial.
So I think 25's have a role here but you probably have to play it by ear to
see how they are handling 25's mentally and physically before you move on
Anyway that' how I approach it and we have a 3 yo and 2 yo in the barn now
so we'll be doing this in a few years.
Tina Hicks wrote:
> I have been following this thread with interest and have been glad to
> see it veryifies some of my own opinions about getting a horse
> ready - that is it takes time and many slow rides.
> I do have a question though about starting distances - not for weekly
> conditioning - but in first year's worth of rides keeping in mind the
> overall goal of building a sound, middle of the pack, accumulate-
> mileage, endurance horse.
> My question is if you feel the horse is ready at the cardio level for a
> slow, easy 50 early (by this I mean in his first year of endurance -
> not early as in necessarily 5 years old) in his career, are you doing
> him any favors by doing a 25 (or any lesser distance) instead for
> some early rides - again at a reasonable pace? Does that do
> more/less for adding to his overall conditioning than taking the same
> horse and safely bringing him through a slow 50(s)? The end goal
> for this hypothetical horse is moderate 50's and 100s for the long
> I guess the same question could apply on up the scale between
> 100s/50s though there aren't too many folks around that start their
> horses out on 100s.
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