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Discipline: LD/Endurance, CMO, Trail Rider, Cartoonist, Writer, Co-Director/ Green Bean Endurance

January 9, 2009


I found this conditioning schedule out on the web for preparing a reasonably fit horse for an LD completion in six weeks. While I feel that is a pretty fast track to your first limited distance ride, I’m also told that I have a tendency to “over analyze” the whole endurance thing. So I’m sharing it, just in case a newbie with a reasonably fit trail horse is looking for a conditioning guideline to get started.

• WEEK ONE -Ride one hour 5 or 6 days a week with slow work. Map out a 5 mile measured route with some challenging obstacles (water crossings, a hill, etc. Fit and adjust your tack, tweak for optimal fit. No rubs, no galls, all systems go.
• WEEK TWO –Ride an hour and half each ride now, adding slow trotting at the beginning of the week and ending the week by trotting at least half of the time. Present your horse with challenging obstacles. Cool your horse off my always walking the last half mile home. NO SPEED WORK YET.
• WEEK THREE –Ride two hours each session up to five sessions in a week. Your horse should have a nice trot going (horse should be able to sustain the trot for 10 minutes now) and it is alright to canter a little at this point. At the end of the week complete your five mile loop in under one hour (this includes your walk in cool down so you have to hustle).
• WEEK FOUR - Ride 5 days a week for hour sessions. After a warm up you will trot, trot, and trot some more! Find a safe place to canter your horse until it is blowing, then ease back to a trot until recovery. Ride 15 miles one day out of the 5 training sessions.
• WEEK FIVE- Ride 4 days this week. Take one 15-mile ride in one hour and 30 minutes. You want to extend the trot up to 9-10 mph. Practice speeding up the horse’s walk, and trot. Practice good cool downs.
• WEEK SIX –Ride a ten mile loop in an hour and forty minutes. Ride your five mile loop at your fastest clip. Only ride four days this week, then give the horse R&R for the 3-4 days prior to entering a ride for a completion.

1 comment:

  1. What a helpful (and timely) post for me!

    I have a booklet that was put out in 1999 for a seminar by Dr. John Thomas, a vet (a very good one, imo) that lived in Martinsville. He is actually the one who directed me to my first horse, and who vetted my horses in the early years.

    Anyway, the booklet also lines out a couple of different "schedules" similar to the one you posted - one takes 8 weeks, the other 11 weeks. I think it is comforting to know that there are so many ways to "skin the cat". (disclaimer: I would never skin a cat...but I do like using the phrase!)

    Thanks for posting the info.