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I've been thinking about this myself... I'm still a rookie at distance riding, I competed in my first 2 CTR's earlier this year. My Arab mare placed 2nd in our div. both rides & won Best Arab one month before her 20th birthday! But, I had ridden her regularly for 4 years prior to that & conditioned her "officially" for about 6 weeks before our first ride.
Now I'm starting over with a 10 yr old former show horse (Arab/Saddlebred) who was broodmare then pasture potato for a few years. She had a laminitis episode shortly after I bought her but is now coming along nicely & I am hoping to enter her in her first LD in about 8 weeks. However, she has been panting (not full hard blowing, but short quick breaths) when we return from our regular rides which are about 50% trotting for at least 1-1/2 hrs. (We do this 3 X per week + a dressage-based lesson once/wk.) She seems to recover within 10 min, haven't even checked her heart rate while working yet, but we live in So Fla & it's been warm & still pretty humid. I did take her camping on a cool weekend in Oct & trotted a good 10 miles - there was no panting, so it seems heat/humidity related.
Otherwise she seems pretty fit - never any back soreness, leg tenderness, or stocking up even after working on our hard packed dirt roads. I'm just wondering if I should skip this whole season with her & just keep doing long trail rides & campouts... Any & all advice appreciated!
Bany in sunny south Fla
the time to build the cardio vascular endurance. You do not say the age of
your horse, but the bones and tendons will also need time to become dense
and strong and will take considerably longer than the heart to condition.
Plan on taking at least two years of slowly building strength and endurance
and the time you take will pay off BIG. The one thing I try to keep in mind
when conditioning (or riding endurance for that matter) is consistency.
If you take the
time it takes to condition your horse, you will have a good endurance
prospect. That horse has heart. Many a horse would have quit and refused to
trot on but yours gave you all that you asked, even at it's own expense. Be
thankful for your gift and good luck.
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