Specifically: Fartleks, Interval Training, Negative Splits, & Cross Training.
Fartleks: Also known as Speedplay consists of short bursts of speed, lasting 1-3 minutes, followed by an in motion cool down, repeated up to six times in a session. Hillwork can be incorporated into this type of training to build wind, and to train those fast twitch muscles to become more tolerant of anerobic activity. For our purposes I see it like this...say you have a one mile training loop consisting of a flat, a moderate grade, and a moderate decent. You have warmed your horse up for at least 15 minutes, you shimmy down the hill, you trot the flat, and you canter the moderate uphill grade, back into the trot and then the walk down the hill. (Lap 1) heart rate should drop to within normal limits, and then you repeat. It would only require about a single mile training loop with varied terrain. Your session lasts a total of one hour, cool down, you are done.
Interval Training: I really like interval training. Basically walk a little, trot a little, canter a little, walk a little, trot a little, canter a little. It is different from Fartleks in that it is a slow consistant, continuing session lasting 2-3 hours. I've tried this the last two times we've been on trail and Phebes did very well. I even took it so far as to count strides, and switch about every 25-50 strides. Her heart rate stays very low doing this, and we still make very good time. Pretty easy on the rider too :)
Negative Splits: Riding the first half of your ride very conservatively, saving energy for the second half of the ride which you move out. Because Phebes is "hot" at the beginning of any type of ride I have been unable to get this worked out. In the future though I can see it being part of our training process.
Cross Training: For us it is a day or two either having a lesson, or practicing the lesson. Giving her mind and body a break from the rigors of trail work, and getting her to soften, and use her mind, as well as different muscle groups.
As we move into cold weather I expect I'll be going back to the beginning again. Continuing lessons and working towards a better horse overall. If you are interested in any of these training methods there is a ton of information out there on the web, just do a keyword search and add endurance horse behind the keyword. KYTITA! ~E.G.
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