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[RC] Hill training vs. flat - Randy or Cheryl Winter

In my opinion, I think a well rounded endurance horse needs both.  I like to
do strong hill work where there is a lot of just pure climb, to build go
strength, but then change it up next ride with a flat or gently rolling
course to really get up and move out at a sustained trot/canter for miles so
that they develop that ability also. If you can only train on one type of
terrain, then you need to change strategy if you get to ride that is
different from what you train on.  Not that they can not do the ride, but
may have to make some allowances. On top of that if you have access to some
sandy draws, do prudent work in that type of footing will develop yet
another side of the horse.  BUT use caution with the sand if they are not
use to it.  Good way to hurt ligaments and tendons if done too much too
soon.  Just apply to yourself what you are doing in training with the horse.
If you went out for your morning walk of three miles on the flat day after
day and never saw a hill, how do you think you would feel after doing three
miles on steep hills with no preparation.  The same with sand.  Think about
the last time you may have walk on the beach in the deep sand.  LOTS more
work and probably did not go as fast and felt it more afterwards.  Some
times we develop a lot more empathy for our horses if WE get off and hike a
few of the hill, sand, and run the flats with them.  And remember, we do not
have a forty pound back pack on our backs while we do that with  them.  You
are unlikely to hurt them by slowing down, but you can hurt them by trying
to do the same speed in terrain they have not trained for.
Just my two cents.... And there are lots of opinions out there to draw on.
Try to train in the type of terrain you are planning on compete on.  Hills
for hills, flats for flats and a mixture for a well balanced horse.

Cheryl Winter



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