ridecamp@endurance.net: Re: [endurance] conditioning on pavement (Long reply)

Re: [endurance] conditioning on pavement (Long reply)

Linda Flemmer (CVLNURS@CHKD-7.evms.edu)
Tue, 02 Jul 1996 13:34:47 -0500 (EST)

Tina wrote:

> >I'd like to hear from some of you that do some of your conditioning on the
> >pavement. Unfortunately, I have no choice to do some of my weekly
> >conditioning on pavement - I hate that but right now that's my only
> >alternative in some places. What we actually trot on the pavement probably
> >only amounts to about 5 - 8 miles a week but I hate every stride of it. Not
> >only does it wear the living daylights out of metal shoes, I just cringe
> >knowing the amount of concussion his legs must be taking. (I am getting my
> >equithotics in this Friday - so part of that problem will soon be
> >lessened.)
> >Is this amount excessive? Does anyone else do this much or more on a
> >regular basis?

One of our old horses had mild ringbone and road founder. Our vet
warned that repeated concussions on hard surfaces could <cause>
both of these problems as well as worsen it. He strongly advised no
trotting or galloping on hard surfaces. We agonized over every mile of
hard surface that horse ever covered, thinking that we could have found
some kind of alternative! We were training on clay roads (WELL packed
clay roads) for about 20 miles per week, not knowing any better at
that time.

We now avoid pavemenet like the plague during conditioning. If it is
unavoidable, we WALK and try to stay to the edge. (Our part of VA
has about 10" of edge, then a 18" wide 3-4' deep ditch! Not much
room!! It gets VERY interesting when a truck passes.) In a competition,
we may trot short sections out of necessity but we never are very
happy about it. As I said, we have hard pack clay roads in some of our
trainingareas - nice & open for trotting & interval training. We do notice
more filling in the legs after working on a day when the ground is hard. (&
the clay is more resilient than hard top!) We have stopped interval
training and fast trotting on days when the clay is too packed, or trailer
to other places with a more forgiving surface. (The water line at the beach
is a good option! We just stay out of the deep sand to avoid tendon

I am a believer that a horse has a certain amount of ability to
recover from the wear & tear that he takes in his lifetime. If I can
lessen the day to day strain so he can compete & live comfortably, I
will. Why add to the mechanical stress on the leg if there is an
option not to? I realize that one of the responses to stress is to
become stronger, but I think that there can be more stress on the
horse's body he can cope with and recover from. That is when stress
injuries start to arise. Or everyday training on good surfaces
appears to be more than enough to stimulate an increase in bone

In answer to Tina's question about excessive road training, I believe
any training on a hardtop road is excessive if there is any
alternative. If there is no alternative, WALKING on the hardtop to
get to a better working area is the next best choice. We trailer our
horses 45 minutes to 2 hours JUST TO AVOID this type of
problem. (The 1.5 mile long bridle path in our neighborhood gets
BORING after the 10th lap!!!)

For those who say that takes to much time, IT CAN BE DONE! (and
we DO work full time, 5 days per week. At the moment, we compete
in 50's in the middle of the pack right now.) I'd rather spend the time
up front going to a good area to ride than nursing an injury & not riding
at all.

Linda Flemmer
ABF Challenger ("Rocket") & Eternal Point ("Major")
Blue Wolf Equestrian Supplies/ Blue Wolf Ranch
Chesapeake, VA

"In case of emergency - Fur side up, steel side down!"