[Scroll down to view conditioning logs.]
When I first got into endurance, I searched high and low for details of how to condition a new endurance horse. I found plenty of general guidelines but almost no concrete examples. So, I decided to publically log my conditioning rides in the hope of assisting others, and that log proved to be one of The Barb Wire’s most popular features.
While I still consider myself a relative newbie in the sport, I certainly know more now than I did back then! Books, mentors, riding partners, and plain old experience have taught me a lot. Goodness knows there’s plenty more to learn. Hopefully, this log will reflect my own learning and contribute to yours.
While I’m happy to provide these examples, they come with a caution: Context is everything. Your horse may be older, younger, hotter, calmer, sounder, greener, better or worse conformation-wise, etc. than mine. Your goals matter immensely — are you looking to finish a few, leisurely 50’s per year or to set the Tevis trail aflame? Train accordingly. Your conditioning decisions must be grounded in horsemanship first, guided by principles second, and influenced by examples third.
Note: Ride times and pace averages exclude warmup and cooldown.
HHR Jammazon “Jammer” 2005 Arabian gelding (Context: Green but well-started. Was reasonably fit about 6 months before conditioning began, but hasn’t worked hard recently. Long-term goal is mid-pack finishes on multi-day and 100-mile rides. Short-term goal is to lay a foundation for several slow to midpaced 50’s in 2013.)
- 10/13/12, 4.3 miles 50% each walk/trot on flat terrain, 37 minutes, 6.9 mph average. Lateral work in arena.
- 10/14/12, 7 miles brisk hack on flat terrain, some sand, 4.5 mph average.
- 10/17/12, 6 miles steady-state trot work on flat terrain, 37 minutes, 9.6 mph.
- 10/20/12, 13.5 miles LSD on flat terrain, 2 hours, 6.7 mph average (11 miles at 7.7 mph)
- 10/21/12, 2 miles hack on flat terrain
- 10/27/12, 8.5 miles in hills (1,220 foot ascent), 50% each walk/trot, average 6.5 mph
- 10/28/12, 8 miles on flat terrain, brisk trot and canter with brief walks for recovery
- 10/31/12 20 min trot on the lunge over cavaletti
- 11/3/12 10 miles in hills (1,460 foot ascent), w/t/c, average 5.5 mph
- 11/4/12 16 miles in rolling hills, w/t/c, estimating average 8 mph
- 11/10/12 20 min free lunge, 30 min lesson in standing for mounting & on trail, 4 miles @ 12 mph, 2 miles walk
- 11/11/12 20 miles in hills (1,926 foot ascent), w/t/c, overall average 6.5 mph, 75% of work averaged 10 mph
- 11/14/12 20 minutes trot on the lunge over cavaletti
Majesty “Maji” 2006 7/8 Arabian mare (Context: Green and being re-started after a year+ off. Was reasonably fit about 14 months before conditioning began, but hasn’t worked since. Long-term goal is mid-pack finishes on 50-mile rides, including some multi-days. Short-term goal is to lay a foundation for several slow to midpaced 50’s in 2013.)
- 10/6/12, 25 min arena work, mostly at trot, focused on softening, bending, and single-rein stops
- 10/7/12, 6 miles walk/trot on flat terrain, not timed
- 10/14/12, 4.3 miles 75% trot, 25% walk on flat terrain, 44 minutes, 5.9 mph average. SRS and softening work in arena.
- 10/15/12, 6 miles steady-state trot on flat terrain, 6.4 mph average. Softening work in arena.
- 10/17/12, Arena work, softening and headset.
- 10/20/12, 4.5 miles trail ride, mostly walking. 25 minutes trot/canter on longe.
- 10/21/12, 9.5 miles in hills (1,460 foot ascent), mostly walking, some trot
- 10/27/12, 25 minutes longing at trot over caveletti. Lateral groundwork.
- 10/28/12, 8.5 miles in hills (1,220 foot ascent), about 50% each walk/trot, average 4.7 mph
- 10/31/12, 15 min trot on lunge over cavaletti, 1.5 hours training (stand still for mounting and on trail)
- [week off due to minor hock injury (kick?) – some swelling and clicking, no lameness, heat, or apparent pain]
- 11/10/12, 20 min trot on lunge
- 11/11/12, 4 mile hack
- 11/12/12, 8 miles walk and trot on flat terrain
- 11/14/12, 20 min trot on the lunge over cavaletti