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Re: [RC] Training/conditioning a 5 y.o. - superpat

Before I put my $.02 in, let me first offer the disclaimer that although my
horse and I often find ourselves among the top ten ( in only about 2000
miles of 50's) we do not race. We ride the ride at the level of comfort each
of us feels which is sometimes faster than other times.
I also find  that each year, I tend to ride more conservatively with the
long term goal of being in this game with this horse for many years.
With my girl, (who has had two tie-up episodes during conditioning rides,
the last one being two years ago), I make it a point to always walk for at
least 20 minutes, often more, to give her a good chance to warm up
adequately (especially since our traing trail starts out at a climb). Our
training terrain includes a lot of long, steep climbs as well as narrow
twisty single track trails with great footing and lots of fairly level trail
with plenty of opportunity for canter work on flat or hills. Although when I
read of others working their horses at a particular mph, I realize that how
fast we work has never been an issue with which I have concerned myself. I
think it is far more important (for me) to concentrate on working at a
consistant pace for long periods of time.
At the beginning of the conditioning season, if we have not been able to get
out on the trails during the winter months, I may start out walking the
major part of steep climbs but with each ride trying to add more trot
without over stressing my horse. The heart rate monitor has been a great
tool to allow me to gauge how we are progressing. So as the training year
progresses we will be working less at walk and more at a consistant trot
with canter where appropriate. It is almost as though I am working to find
that rythym that works for us. I really want to find that "all day trot".
I would advise adding miles, concentrating on pacing and building on that
with less emphasis on speed. I would also advise erring on the side of
giving your horse too much time off between rides to allow rebuilding and

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[RC] Training/conditioning a 5 y.o., k s swigart