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[RC] [RC] re:training schedule - DreamWeaver

Please post to ridecamp.  I'm particulary interested in viewpoints on
training for multi-day rides.  I like the concept of every other day

I'll take a stab at it. I'm not sure where to start! I've got two horses that have been alternated and have done probably 35 multidays between them. My own feelings are that the horses are better off being alternated for many reasons. It is also a nice accomplishment for a single horse to do an entire multiday ride.

It helps to pay attention to all of the details and be aware of things that can cause possible problems before they start. Things like scratches, tack galls, rope burns and I'm sure there are quite a few other things I can't even think of at the moment all factor into the equation and have a lot to do with how well a horse can get thru a multiday ride or not. Often it is the little details that have more to do with success or failure than the overall conditioning and training program. Even if your horse is 100% physically and mentally prepared, it all goes down the tubes if your horse gets itchy and scratchy after three days and gets caught in a rope while rolling, or tangled up in his corral, ends up lame by the last day due to scratches, or a shoe gets loose and the rider doesn't know how to use an easyboot.

Most any horse that can do a one day ride and looks good the next day is probably quite capable of tackling a multiday ride. It is all a matter of how they are managed on the actual ride. It does help to have spent a great deal of time getting the horse ready for the experience, yet the actual amount of training can vary considerably from horse to horse and again, it all depends upon how they are ridden at the actual ride. I can't really give anybody else advice on what they should do with their own horses, only what I have done with mine and what has worked and what hasn't.

I have learned that my horses work best if they get regular consistent exercise. It doesn't have to be a lot, and the more rides they do the less often I need to work them. When I took my youngest horse to his first ride last year (a multiday) I figure that I had put about 500 trail riding miles on him, several hours of arena lessons and a few dozen rides where he was ponied. Our average on the trail training speed usually averages under 5 mph (I do a lot of hillwork) and for the first season or two I will get off and lead down anything steep, and always walk up anything steep (in training I do trot uphill). I time how long we trot on training rides and pay attention to never exceed the time, distance, or speed in an actual ride. Now that I know more with this 3rd horse, I will also keep his trot speed under 9 mph for the first few hundred miles -- probably more in the 8.5 mph range. With my horses if they can go 50-80 miles per week in training for a couple of weeks I know that they can handle it. That figure is probably totally irrelevant to anybody elses horse tho. :+>

Happy Trails,

in NV
& Rocky, 6,030 miles
& Weaver, 5,880 miles
& Chief, 100 miles :-)

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