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.
Discipline: LD/Endurance, CMO, Trail Rider, Cartoonist, Writer, Co-Director/ Green Bean Endurance
Favorite Links for training, gear, and memberships!
- National Association of Competitive Mounted Orienteering
- HOW TO CMO
- What is CMO?
- Old Dominion Endurance Rides
- Renegade Hoof Boots
- Riding vs. Racing a discussion with the Duck.
- Trumbull Mountain's INTRO TO ENDURANCE RIDING
- Principles of Conditioning
- Conditioning the endurance horse by SERA
- Short Article: Feeding & Training the Endurance Horse
- Feeding the Endurance Horse, Swedish Author
- Preventing Dehydration In the Endurance Horse, Ontario Competitive Trail Riding Association
- Jim Holland's fantastic training links here!
- South Eastern Distance Rider's Association