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Re: [RC] How to tell if you are over doing it? - Heidi Smith

contends the most critical element to any training regime was
to REMAIN UNIJURED, and that many 'serious' runners over-train,
and set themselves back by injuring thmeselves in training. He
recommends an every-other-day training program, to avoid over-
training and associated injuries, and allow time for muscle

He gave a list of signs that you are over training:

1.  Frequent injuries, minor or not so minor;
2.  lack of enthusiasm: stops being a pleasure, becomes a chore
3.  changes in appetite and /or sleep patterns
4.  changes in mood: irritability, lethargy, depression

Do any of these apply to endurance horses?

Absolutely!  Rest is as much a part of conditioning as is work.  Best
program I've personally found for putting a base on a horse is simply going
out every other day and riding, for a minimum of 30-40 minutes, but at least
once a week going longer and farther.  By only conditioning every other day,
the tissues get a chance to recover from the stresses being put on them.
With working every day, tissues can gradually become fatigued to the point
that injuries start to occur just from the chronic wear and tear.  Once a
horse has a good base, one can do a lot more (like a series of back-to-back
days, or asking for more speed or more distance) without the risk of
injuries that come about from simple overuse.  (You can still step in a
badger hole on a fit horse....  Although even then he is not apt to hurt
himself as badly as an unfit one.)  If your horse gets grumpy or grouchy
about conditioning, something is wrong--since he can't talk, you have to
sort out the signs and figure out if it is something as simple as a saddle
fit problem or if it has to do with the beginnings of chronic injury.


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[RC] How to tell if you are over doing it?, A. Perez