I’ve heard it said that riding endurance takes “too much time”, or rather, the person cannot find time to condition a horse. My position is that it is not matter of enough time, but rather a shortage in the planning department that keeps one from getting a horse fit to complete. Sure there are unforseen things like injury, or family illness that can sideline anyone. But think about this...
In a given week we have 7/24 hour days. That
calculates to about 168 hours total. Out of that 168 you
can subtract 50 for work or work related duties or let’s even go 60
for those type A’s (what is wrong with you people *LOL*).
You will sleep another….let’s give you the benefit of the doubt
about 63 hours out of your week. So you have left
about 58 hours for meals, housework, appointments, and horse time.
So let’s knock off 14 hours for eating meals, still leaves 44,
let’s whack off 2 hours a day for housekeeping and laundry, 2
hours a week to shop, you still have 28 hours left. Okay
let us just say that something will sideline you sometime in the
week, an appointment, a school function, a family commitment, a trip to the doctor.
I’m going to be generous and hack off 6 hours for that.
We are down to 22 hours, oh we have to take care of the horses
right? Shave off 8 more (it will even out over the
year). You have 14 hours left of discretionary time to
ride. Oh! That isn’t enough!!! Well---it probably
is. Just use it wisely.
Though I don’t have a high mileage record recorded on AERC, it
is not unusual for me to log 800-1000 saddle miles in a given year.
The months of Dec. and Jan. my horses get the time off to just be
horses. So I spend about 300 hours a year riding with a few
competitions thrown in. When conditioning for the first ride
for any season I generally ride three times a week.
More if the time is available, but I only count on three. It
will look a little like this, but I don’t over-stress on the idea
that X many miles must be done in a week to get there, I just shoot
1 hour of walk/trot in the arena (trot until huffing, puffing a
bit, walk until they quit, rinse/repeat.)
1 hour of slow hill climbing (Find yourself one whopper moo-goo
hill if at all possible)
3 hour 10-15 mile ride on the weekend at pace that stresses but
does not overload the horse.
1 hour gradually working up the amount of sustained trotting (trot
until huffing, puffing a bit, walk until they quit, rinse/repeat.)
1 hour of walk, trot hill climbing
3 hour 15 mile ride on the weekend at pace that stresses but does
not overload the horse.
After those eight weeks I’m probably going to complete an LD
which is “my LSD training” for that week.
Then back to:
1 hour of sustained trotting once a week, and by this time we can
usually do it non-stop.
1 hour of hill climbing doing trot, and canter uphill (remember
that half of that time is walking back down)
3 hours of
distance at "ride pace" and I start tracking my average speed and try to keep that
pace above 5 mph, with a few canters thrown in, and try to shave off
a minute or two each time out.
That is it.
I can’t tell you how to ROCK the top
ten. That is not within my experience. I don’t even
really want to know, I like doing it my speed. I will say that
my three horse work days are weather dependent, and now and then I
miss one. If I do I improvise and add it back in on another
day. Once my horse is fit I will do a 20 mile day now and then,
and if I have really nice weather midweek and I get home from work
early enough I might shoot for a 7-10 mile snappy paced ride since I have trail
access at home. That is the bare bones of it. You aren’t
going to win doing it my way, it would be wrong to try, but it will
get you pointed at a slow LD. It will earn you a turtle
You have only committed to 5-8 conditioning hours a week (eight
would definitely be better), if you want to add travel time we can
make it 11. You still have 3 hours of discretionary time
left, snuggle up to your significant other, or have a play date
with the grand kids, or soak in deep tub of hot water. YOU
CAN DO IT. You just have to claim those hours for yourself,
and ride the horse.
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