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

February 20, 2010

Moving from LD to Endurance?

Moving from LD to Endurance

Since my hoped for goal this year God willing…is to finish the year with either a multi-day or shoot for our first Endurance Ride I’ve been really feeling the pressure of the ongoing snow and very poor trail conditions. In fact, my trailer is mired down in about eighteen inches of snow. Phebes and I are getting a little work in, but nothing that would inspire me to feel prepared for the upcoming Chicken Chase. My hope was to repeat the ill-fated Chicken Chase and finally slay that dragon once and for all. In my search for how to get her ready I've been digging around on the internet for conditioning programs with your first 50 mile (or first multi-day) in mind. The one I liked was pretty straightforward, and certainly less miles than I’m used to doing in preparation for an LD. This program I think Phebes could do and maintain her weight. Feedback on this as an easy useable plan would be appreciated from those who are experienced.

Weeks 1-4:
Do flat work at 5-6 mph. Just stretch out your distance a little more each day you ride. Ride an hour a day.

Weeks 5-8: (three conditioning rides per week)
You have one hill training session each week.
Twice weekly sessions of moderate trotting at speeds of 6-8 mph. Stretch the distance a little each session.
*Your horse should be able to handle a 12 mile trail in 3 hours prior to entering an LD.*
At this point you do a SLOW LD. Take the whole six hours if needed, it is just more training.
Once the horse can easily complete a 25 mile ride, is eating, drinking, pooping and peeing, and will pulse down quickly without any metabolic issues, you can work towards moving up to an endurance ride.

Moving up to Endurance (or multi-day)

Weeks 9-12 (three conditioning rides each week)
One weekly session of hill work pushing pulse up to 200-220 maximum with two repetitions. A nice long gradual hill that you could trot and canter up would be great. Be sure your horse has pulsed down to 80 before you attempt a second set.

The other two workouts consist of easy trotting about 6-7 miles at 7-9 mph. These are at least an hour long session at a good working trot.

That is pretty much it! Here is the link to the information as written at Old Dominion Rides .


  1. Oooh oooh! I'm totally bookmarking this, and you will get mad props when I finish the LD in March. (Thinking positive here!) I'm not really on this plan right now, but I think I can work in a couple weeks of it before RoM.

    A couple questions: Do you think the hill training in wks 5-8 is the same as in 9-12? And do you turn around and walk down the hill to pulse back down?

  2. I am in favor of doing the least amount of miles possible in preperation. It's a bit of a balancing act - riding enough to keep fit, but not enough to risk injury, overuse, or where they can't maintain weight.

    I don't have any hard and fast rules except that my non-arab seemed to take more miles to keep in condition than my arab, and was also more injury prone and was harder to keep weight on, as result I think of the increased mileage.

    The hardest part is making it to your first endurance ride. after that all you ahve to do is maintain the conditioning, which requires suprisingly little riding! In fact, it's a bit of a let down - you work and work for months to get there, and once you there it's tough because you want to ride, but know you shouldn't. That's when I start doing dressage, etc.

  3. Funder,

    The hill work would be a very long gradual hill. Maybe a trail or no traffic road that just gradually rises for a half mile to a mile. You wouldn't be racing up the hill, but rather chugging at a good power trot or easy canter depending on your horses fitness (Myself, I'd power trot because that is how I ride generally). If you are using a heart rate monitor watch for the pulse to hit that peak number, then pull the horse down and quietly reverse down the hill and to the flat until the horse hits a pulse of 80 or less, reverse and power back up the hill.

    If you want to read the whole article it did come from a very good source. What I put up is how I digested the information. So read it and get your own spin on it. But I thought it was the simplist program I've found yet, and it allows REST which many programs don't.

  4. PS: The hill training in weeks 5-8 would be slower than the sessions in weeks 9-12. Just think of everything as a gradual progression.

  5. Mel - yeah, I kind of miss the earliest days, when I was doing very slow miles every day. I anticipate that Dixie will be harder to leg up than an Arab, but she is holding her weight amazingly well. I do wonder how much of Minx's conditioning was because she was a STB and how much was because she was just NQR?

    EG - Gotcha on the hill work. No HRM, but Dixie's one of those self-preservation mares - I think she will charge up a hill only until her HR is too high and then she will slow down and walk no matter what I want. I read the OD Primer, but not since I finished the LSD training - I will look at it again! Thanks.