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

January 24, 2010

Foundation Mileage

Well...I dug, and dug some more in the latest book I've borrowed by Ivers. Much of it was a repeat of the other book, and the rest was pretty Racehorse specific. More focused on building sprinters. But the section on foundation mileage certainly would apply to the endurance horse. In simplistic terms it is jogging (trotting in our case) along on your horse beginning with 1 miles 3 X's weekly, then 2 miles 3 X's weekly, cont.increasing your mileage by small increments until you hit 4 miles 3 X's week. There you hold and increase the speed of the trot for a few weeks until you have nice comfortable extension. Then you move on up to 5 miles 3 X's weekly, then 6 and so on as the weeks progress. Really very much what we do with our distance horses. Since I'm doing baby steps (literally) with our road riding this would be a good place to begin. We live on a narrow gravel road. Just wish folks would keep their speed down, which they don't. But we are going to give it a shot anyway. I will likely do the road thing only once or twice a week, as I'm so limited on ride days. I wonder about the concussive forces of trotting on blacktop. A horse can surely harden up to some of this, but how much? The horses in the training examples were training on turf or track (good footing that gives).

The other little gem that was not new information either, but pertinent to distance was Strength (Resistance) Training. Some of the recommended activities for this from various sources other than Ivers are: Dressage, Hillwork, and riding in deep footing (sand, mud, water). Personally the deep footing is alright for slow work in a limited way, but I wouldn't be keen on injuring a tendon just conditioning. Had an incident yesterday when we got into the deepest mud of the day, and she spotted two White Tail Deer at the same instant and took a big sideways spook in the mud. All my little alarm bells were going off. I feel that any kind of lessons are good for the horse to get the horse focusing mentally and using their muscles in new ways. I miss going to lessons, but have to ration my horse $ carefully. Hill work is probably my favorite training activity (and Phebe's least favorite). She loves going up, but is a stinky brat going down. She does it well-- just attitude.

So for the immediate future we will be looking at 1-2 hours of road work weekly at the trot. Even if I have to break it up into trotting intervals until I can get her moving out safely with none of the spooking, spinning, or stopping nonsense. To master the road will be the most liberating thing we could do. If I can randomly shoot all the loose, barking, mean dogs (kidding folks) we'd have it made.

Hillwork (1 X weekly) to the tune of 1 hour beginning slow, and working towards powering up those tough hills out back. If the footing is too slick for work out there, then I'll do a second session of road work until I can get to hillwork.

Long Slow Distance for 3-4 hours on the weekend. We are hanging at 9-12 miles right now, would like to tweak up to about 15 miles.

All weather permitting. For the month of February. ~E.G.

1 comment:

  1. I do a lot of riding on deep sand, and it's not nearly as scary as deep mud. There's almost no slipping, just a lot of effort for the horse to move through it. It's definitely strength training!

    Insisting on forward was the best thing I did lately. Sometimes it's more sideways than forward, when Dixie doesn't want to cooperate, but now that I think about it, she hasn't spooked and spun on me in weeks. That's an amazing accomplishment for her!