ridecamp@endurance.net: Re: Linda's conditioning question

Re: Linda's conditioning question

Linda H VanCeylon (lindavan.eqath@juno.com)
Mon, 7 Apr 1997 16:32:00 PST

On Sun, 6 Apr 1997 21:01:47 -0400 (EDT) Tivers@aol.com writes

>I'd exercise the horse lightly every day until he as regained lost
>then go back at him with higher workloads.

Ok, sounds like maybe just some Training Level dressage in shallow
footing or short jaunts of trail scouting.

>Just before competition you were in taper, and before that, you were
>in some
>pretty high intensity race-specific work. What we want between
>is something in-between. Long and Strong is what I'd call it.
>Something you
>can meaninfully taper back from, but work that is tough enough to
>prevent the
>horse from peaking or becoming stale.>

OK, so the 10-16 mile rides over rough terrain @ HR 130-160.

So, not as tough as you were
>before going into taper for competition, but about 80% of that volume
>If the two events are a month apart, you're going to have to recover
>for 5-7
>days--that would be light work. Then I'd move into some of that 80%
>for two weeks. Finally, I'd taper back for the week prior to the next
>Taper by cutting the volume in half--but sharpening the effort a

Ok, so put the medium intervals here. ~ 6-7 miles of hill work with fast
uphill to ~ 170-180 HR and walk downhill to recover.

>...I'd give light recovery work until body weight has
>recovered--could be 4
>days, but might be 7--even 10, but would hope not. At that point you
>have to
>rev quickly into a volume and intensity that you can taper from. I
>tend to move from longer/slower to shorter/faster. Your gameplan is
>good--I'd back it up a little, starting the more aggressive stuff a
>earlier and shutting back to the light stuff a little earlier--to
>oversimplify: two weeks of serious work sandwiched between a week of
>and a week of taper.

This makes some sense. Do you recommend the 1-2 days rest between the
harder work days?

>Avoiding a peak means keeping the pressure on. The problem is always
>that we
>want to give the horse too much rest.>

Ok, as per last question. What is too much rest? I've noticed that
rider/trainers who don't give enough rest (overtrain) tend to run out of
horse by the end of the season. (Some sooner than later). A few have
horses that obviously look overtrained. ie) thin, dull coat, poor performance. But, most I've seen just breakdown or have chronic lameness.

> When we do that, then he gets
>enthusiastic and, next event, squeezes the last few drops of juice
>from the
>lemon. >

I have part of this problem all too often. But, what happens to me is
the horse is way over enthusiastic at the beginning of the ride. Then,
by time we find our comfortable pace, the horse's physical energy is starting to fall be hind the mental energy. Then, we don't finish as well
as we could if we rated from the beginning. This is when not starting
with the pack and riding alone tends to pay off more. But you can't
always accomplish that.

>Thereafter, he's not so enthusiastic, no matter what we
>doo--always a
>little dull. That's peaking too early.

I've never had that problem. What I'd like to strive for is a little
less enthusiasm. That's why we're trying to do just multi-day's and the
longer one-day rides.

>Then, too, we never want to ask for maximum effort--for one thing, if
>keeping the lid on with hard work, then we won't get maximal effort.
>then, maximal effort is dangerous--leads to injury. What we really
>want is a
>horse so fit that he wins everything in sight without ever coming
>close to
>having to delivering maximal effort.

This is so true. It is often hard not to allow maximum effort from these
fit, endurance athletes. So, many rider/trainers get into trouble here.
This is the point I was trying to make awhile back. The horse's
cardiovascular fitness is far ahead of his other systems. I think the
point that Bob Morris made about not trying to overfeed with too much
energy enhancing stuffs is valid here. Maybe, if you don't try to
charge them up too much early in their career, while the
slower-to-condition systems are coming up to speed, then, they won't self-destruct before you get to optimum overall condition. The rider would
be forced to ride conservatively from the get go. The horses would
learn to be energy conservationists too.

>So, yes, every competition must be integrated as a part of the
>program. And if one of those competitions is a "must win" that we have
>peak for, then demand maximal effort for, we're going to have a hot
>horse for a few weeks--as soon as the horse bounces back from this
>compeition. It would be nice if important races were clustered closely
>this time. If not, then you can gradually let the horse down for a
>week, give
>another week to ten days "off", then come on with a reasonably
>week, followed by two very aggressive weeks, followed by a medium
>taper and
>another competition--you should be back into a level of
>you can maintain for a while.
>If you're never going to have time to go through such a "rebuild",
>then you
>probably shouldn't peak until the end of the season.

>From talking to some of the top rider/trainers, it appears they try to space their competitions at ~6 week intervals. Between those times they
rest, then train back to a peak level. Then try not to ask for maximal effort unless they have too. Many do not ride any competitions between
those at 6-week intervals. There are only a few elite competitions
each season, so they can plan any additional competitions around those.

Some old campaigners don't ever get ridden between competitions. They
may be ponied or just turned loose to follow along while their
stablemates are trained. Often the objective is to accumulate miles so
they are campaigned often, but they still win their share.

Thanks for the answers, Tom. Your system is starting to make some sense
to me. This may lead to more questions later.

Linda VanCeylon & crew
Buhni, Sunny, Rabbit, & Fiddler

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