I can't give any magic formula but only advise you to start your
downhill training slowly at first, then add speed and distance a
little at a time. Don't overdo it! At any sign of lameness, back off.
This principle applies to concussion, too. I learned from Matthew
Mackay-Smith the value of riding "down the yellow line" of a paved
road to condition for concussion. Literally! As I wanted to train
Kahlil to stay on the shoulder of paved roads during rides (and not
try to encroach onto the pavement), when I used the pavement for
conditioning I wanted to be sure he understood the difference. So,
I would ride down the very center of the road. Understand, I don't
suggest using this technique on a busy highway!
If you use this technique, remember to start slowly for short
distances, and build up speed and distance on the asphalt gradually.
I never went much more than a half-mile at a time, and never faster
than a trot ( I will not run a horse on pavement even in
(Another "war story" follows)
I won't gallop downill even in competition, either, but once I was
very glad I'd conditioned downhill. I was approaching the finish of
a 100 mile ride and had been unable to shake a very good rider. The
last mile was up a hill, then down the other side, then a short flat
stretch to the finish line. The other horse was a fast sprinter
(and I was unwilling to race down the hill) so I knew my only chance
to prevail was to lose that horse going *up* the hill. As we
started up I urged Kahlil to "full race mode," a belly-down gallop
as fast as he could run. Didn't work; the other horse stayed right
on our butt. At the top I conceded the race and tried to pull up.
Nothing doing! I had a runaway, and Kahlil ran *down* the other
side at full speed! As soon as we hit the flat the other horse
passed us and took first place.
Kahlil was not injured by the experience -- in part, I believe, due
to his downhill conditioning.
Joe Long Rainbow Connection Arabians PC/LAN Manager home of Kahlil Khai Calhoun Community College AERC Hall of Fame horse email@example.com 11,475 miles completed