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

June 18, 2009

An interesting article on training by Les Sellnow

I found an article at written by Les Sellnow. You will need to signup and login to read the article. His conditioning program was interesting in that the milage you ride doesn't keep going up and up and up. After the second week of training your horse is doing a medium trot of a set distance of five to eight miles daily, third week extended trotting and some slow cantering over a five mile course, and some hill work. Week four intensive hill climbing added. The writer suggests keeping longer training rides at 12 miles or less with at least 2 full days off a week to let the horse repair and recharge.

With this training schedule in mind, what you are doing is a set course of 5-8 miles during the week. You will not increase that distance, but rather increase your speed of the same course until you get to the point that the work out is done with a warm up, fast trot and intermittent cantering, cool down. Recording the horse's recovery post ride, watching those numbers that they come down quickly. The author also stressed the importance of knowing your horse's body, palpating muscles, legs, and keeping track of any changes. He also stressed the importance of not over training. The article is a good read, and a different spin on the conditioning of the distance horse than I've seen. ~E.G.


  1. the longer I do this (and no - I haven't been doing this very long at all so this is NOT the last word on this I'm sure) the more I become convinced that the key to doing endurance is rest. I spend more time planning rest periods, days, and weekends, than I do actual conditioning rides. Since I have errored on the side of more rest, I have been much more sucessful in completing rides and no burning out/injuring horses. I think the line between injury and being in endurance conditioning is extremely fine. The difference between a good endurance horse and a not-so-good one, might be their ability to get fit and stay fit on less miles so you are further from the over-riding "line". I found that my standardbred, to get to endurance shape (50's) was also very very very close to the injury/overriding line. Keeping my arab fit requires less and as a result I have more "wiggle" room while doing rides.

    This has just been my experience in a very very limited amount of time though - I don't even have my 2nd mileage patch. My opinion might change in another 250 competition miles, or when I finally manage to reach my first 1000 mile horse medallion (yes, it will happen).

  2. I did 12 miles on Rocky yesterday and figured I'd get in about 25 to 30 miles on him total this week if I include the arena work too. We've been working up to this for a few weeks now. I'd like to get him up to doing about 50 miles a week total for a few weeks before deciding if I want to take him on an endurance ride again. I probably won't take him on a longer than 12 to 15 mile ride if he's holding together good for 50 miles in a week. Once he does that, I'll know he's ready to do a 50.