Friday, August 13, 2010

Weekly Routines?

I was going back through my posts reminiscing about the good old days when Lilly was sound. (It was such a short period of time that it really didn't take me long to get through the posts...) I came across this fairly recent post I wrote about goals. I wrote it shortly after Lilly was cleared for full work but before our first show of the year.

I set some goals.

The first one was to go to the JCHSS show on the 26th of that month. We made it there, won our showmanship class, and Lilly did really well for me in the hunt seat classes. Our first show since Lilly's injury! WOOHOO!

The second goal was to make it to the Paint show next weekend. I was feeling a bit cautious about speaking of my goals out loud because I was afraid I would jinx myself. But then I kept rambling on and on and at the end I said, "My goal is to make it to that show. I don't see any reason why we can't make it happen!"

Yeah, so I think I may never set goals ever again. Well, at least not on web paper. Perhaps I'll set goals in my head where the goal stealers can't find them.

Since I can't work my horse and don't have much else to do (I'm really throwing myself a pity party, aren't I?) I've been trying to come up with a weekly routine that I can use when riding Lilly. She never really got back into shape because of my trip to Alaska, the extreme heat, and now this abscess, so I wanted to organize exercises into a routine we could follow each week when I'm finally able to ride again. I was thinking of exercises we could build on so as she starts go get back into shape, we can increase the workload. I want to incorporate ground poles to improve her topline, maybe add in some longing, and work on transitions.

I have some books like 101 Arena Exercises that I'm going to re-read to get some ideas, but I'm really unable to find anything on the web. I thought there might be some conditioning guidelines available out there but there really isn't. I know it totally depends on each individual horse, the goals, and the discipline, but I was hoping to find a structured basic routine I could get ideas from.

Something like:
Warm Up - 10 minutes of walking and stretching
5 minutes of long trotting in both directions
10 minutes of walk/trot/canter transitions

But I have no idea. What's too much of something and what is the criteria for increasing the amount of time? How do I know when she's ready for 10 minutes of long trotting instead of 5, for example? Increase by 5 minutes per week?

If anyone knows of some good books or online resources I'd love for you to share them with me.


  1. I so understand how you feel. I briefly posted all the rides I was going to attend on my sidebar, then Dixie had her Great Trailer Freakout less than week after that. I may never set goals on web paper again either!

    I'd look at Andrea's monthly goals for ideas. She is bringing Gogo back from what, a year off? and she has the kind of concrete plans you're looking for. Seems very conservative, too.

  2. When I read your post yesterday I remembered reading something once about bringing the pastured horse into work condition. I jumped up and ran to my bookshelf and pulled out all the old-school books I have, but I can't find what I remembered. There IS something in Margaret Cabell Self's "Horseman's Almanac" called Conditioning Horses for the Hunt about bringing the summer pastured horse into fox-hunting condition. It basically says to briskly walk up and down hills for 45 minutes daily for two weeks, then adding brief periods of trot and then cavalletti, then canter, etc. I'd be happy to scan the pages for you.

  3. I do follow Gogo's blog, but hadn't really thought about borrowing her ideas. I just took a look and her most recent post from Monday would be a great place to start. Good thinking!

    I looked for that book, SillyPony, and I found it online from a used bookstore. Are there just a couple pages about the conditioning that you could scan? I'd hate for you to have to scan a bunch of pages if there are a lot of them. I really appreciate you checking for me!!