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Discipline: LD/Endurance, CMO, Trail Rider, Cartoonist, Writer, Co-Director/ Green Bean Endurance
Email: jackereynolds@yahoo.com


September 21, 2008

Another Conditioning Program for your first LD


This program is another in my "collection" of stuff I've saved over the past two years while Phebes was still a baby. Again, this program suggests that you are starting with a reasonably fit horse, not a pasture potato. Each ride is to be preceded by a 20 minute warm up. A horse beginning this program should already be able to do an easy 5-10 mile ride at a trail horse pace of 3.5 mph.


WEEK ONE

Day 1: Ride 5-6 miles. Always warm up for the first 20 minutes or so. Practice trotting intervals of 10 minutes with a 5 minute cool down each repetition.

Day 2: Ride 5-10 miles of long slow distance.

Day 3: Rest

Day 4: Arena work for up to an hour.

Day 5: Rest

Day 6: Arena work. Practice bending, leg yeilds, trotting patterns, and gait transitions.

Day 7: Rest


WEEK TWO

Day 1: Ride 5-6 miles, increase your trotting sessions to fifteen minutes, with 5 minute cool downs in between. If the horse is handling this well pulse and respirations should drop significantly by the end of the 5 minute cool down. If not, the horse is not ready, and you need to back up your training program.

Day 2: 5-10 miles, increase your trotting a little from the previous week if you go the shorter distance. If you opt for the 10 mile do slow distance work, and maybe a session of hill climbing.

Day 3: Rest

Day 4: Arena work for one hour. Practice fluid gait transitions and control.

Day 5: Rest

Day 6: Trot out for 1 mile, walk out for a half mile, repeat X 3.

Day 7: Rest


WEEK THREE


Day 1: Slow trot for 5-6 miles. Walking in between when necessary, but working towards more trotting vs. walking.

Day 2: Rest

Day 3: Arena work for 1 hour

Day 4: Rest

Day 5: 8-10 miles of long slow distance, with some hill work.

Day 6: Rest

Day 7: Hill Work


WEEK FOUR

Day 1: 7-8 miles, keep up the trotting, with short walking intervals so that you are trotting at least 75% of the time.

Day 2: Rest

Day 3: Arena Work one hour. Mix up the work to keep it interesting for the horse.

Day 4: Rest

Day 5: Interval Training 1 hour

Day 6: Rest

Day 7: 15 miles of long slow distance.

WEEK FIVE

Day 1: Rest

Day 2: Interval Training

Day 3: Fast 5 mile, warm up, really push for the trot, and cool down the last twenty minutes.

Day 4: Rest

Day 5: Arena work for one hour.

Day 6: 20 miles of long slow distance.

Day 7: Rest


WEEK SIX

Day 1: 5 miles of trotting, mix in a little cantering, cool down the last 20 minutes of ride walking.

Day 2: Rest

Day 3: Arena work for one hour.

Day 4: Rest

Day 5: 10 miles at a moderate walk trot, walk trot pace

Day 6: Rest

Day 7: 5 miles of interval training or an hour of hill work.

By this point your horse should be fit enough to try a 25 mile LD with a goal of completion. Meaning 25 miles within six hours. What I liked about this program was the rest periods for the horse and rider. The horse is not over-ridden, but builds gradually over 7 weeks, and the work varies enough that the horse should be bored with it. It also give the rider more options for training in short durations during the week when life is so hectic. The mindset of this is to get the horse ready to try a ride, not to be competitive.

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