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Re: [RC] physiology & conditioning - rides2far@xxxxxxxx

THE QUESTION: Why the extended rest?  So what is it about horses that needs 
more time?  Is it tendon or leg 
related? Following the "conventional wisdom" of giving least two weeks 
off for each 50 miler, my horse blew a tendon in his 178'th endurance 
mile.  He is fine now, although 

Before I cut loose let me preface this with the statement that I damaged *my* 
first endurance horse's tendon before he even did one endurance mile so I am a 
reformed overtrainer.

Now let me critique your post.  You have done less than four competitions with 
your horse and have already done irreparable damage and you don't understand 
why your horse might need rest and want someone to encourage you in your 
misconception.  If your horse "blew a tendon" he is *not* fine now. He may be 
as healed as he'll ever get, but he's not as perfect as he was before you 
overdid it, which is how a tendon gets damaged (been there, guilty of)

Now, why the HECK do you want to train the week after a competition. What 
better training ride is there in the world than a competition? When is your 
horse getting stronger? Do you think you're making him stronger WHEN you're 
conditioning? You're not. That's when we do damage. Doing small amounts of 
damage on conditioning rides is how we convince the horse's body that it needs 
to lay down reinforcements, strengthening bones, ligaments and building muscle. 
It does NOT do this DURING training. It does it on off days. If you continue to 
do damage the day *after* you did a competition, when is your horse going to 
get stronger? He's not, he's just gradually being weakened like a rope fraying 
one strand at a time till is snaps (or blows).

A horse does not lose conditioning for about 3 weeks. I usually give one day 
per 10 miles. A 50 would give 5 days minimum, probably 7. A slow 25 would just 
count as a regular training ride, but if you are a LD "racer" you should 
probably allow about 5 days too. I'll ride a horse a week after a 100, but I 
won't compete for at least 3 and 4 makes far more sense to me.

Haste makes waste. Maybe we all have to suffer through those years off to find 
our we can live through a week off without it hurting us. Patience is something 
that is not fun to earn. You can learn it now, or learn it later.


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