Contact information:

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

April 11, 2010

Does your horse do sprints?

I'm talking training her folks. Do you do sprints with your horses in training? How far? How many reps? What kind of footing?

We've been doing a few on the flats, and some uphill hand gallops, but have yet to approach it scientifically and measuring the resulting pulse down. Maybe it is time. ~E.G.


  1. You know I do. But it's not to condition my horses to win rides. I just LIKE to do short gallops now and then. I must admit I have "the need for speed". But I realize horses are not machines. I don't have to go fast all the time or on every ride. AND there are appropriate places to run and places not to run. Gravel, low traffic, roads are the best. Especially away from home and up hill. Which I am lucky enough to have. I also have an almost mile long closed road, straight stretch thru the woods with a slight incline behind my house. That is just perfect for moving out.

    Just know you can stop your horse before trying. Most horses, I've found, don't really know how to gallop with a rider on them. So you have to start out slowly at first and not go very far. Gradually you will feel your horse get stronger and that's when you know you can ask for more speed and at more of a distance. I wouldn't do more than a mile and a half max, once your horse is in tip top shape.

    As I child/teen I spent my free time riding and doing some road racing, hill racing, etc. with a girl friend of mine or solo. Most of the time bareback. It reminds me of childhood. Freedom. The wind in my hair! I just love it and I know my horses do too. It may or may not be that beneficail to endurance, I don't know. I have never gone that fast in an endurance ride, and I never would!

    I'm interested to hear if any body else does.


  2. Are you kidding me??
    He'd spook and I'd fall off!
    I've only rarely galloped, but we do a lot of uphill sand training.
    Plus we don't do endurance rides fast.
    It would be fun to do sprints now and then, but the thought of hitting the ground that fast stops me.
    The Equestrian Vagabond

  3. Merri, Take it from the voice of experience:


    In fact, the most painful fall I've had yet was from a dead stop, wih an explosive 180 degree, so fast I didn't even get to have my "Wiley Coyote" moment of suspension. Just found myself on the ground, no horse!!!

    The unplanned dismount at full gallop thankfully landed me in a wet mud hole. I didn't look pretty, but the slide was much easier than on dry ground.

    My girl is getting better at the canter and gallop. Though still a little dicey, we've had some fun, like chasing a bunch of turkeys down the trail :)

  4. Michelle,

    What I'm finding she is doing at the canter/ hand gallop right now is we don't do a straight line very well. We have a little drift to the left and right. Not sure if it is her, or my lack of experience throwing her off somewhat.

  5. I never have had that problem that I can recall. Wished I could help you on that.

    So what day are you going to Chicken Chase? Have you decided yet?


  6. Actually, my arab and I have recently started a set of sprints in our arena work. I set up cones in a oval the width and length of the arena and start with a collected canter around completely at least twice, then at the first cone starting the long side of the oval we extend to a hand gallop and back down to a canter around the bend, then sprint at the next cone for the straight until the corner cone again. It fun and is a real workout for us both!

    I got that exercise from the Equine Fitness book by Jec Aristotle Ballou.