How do I make compromises and keep an endurance horse in shape?
Riding and training for endurance is a huge commitment, especially in the time department. It seems that a large number of people who are really serious competitors in this sport have the luxury of time to commit to it. I am not one of those, especially right now. As Spring weather is arriving, I am going a bit crazy. I work full time (+) and, until May, I am also going to school. Time in not in my favor but I still want to keep my thumb on JB’s fitness level. We are slated for a limited distance, our first ride of the season, the weekend of July 17th. By May, school will be out, but until then, riding time will continue to be limited. So how do I accomplish my goal? and keep my sanity? (I do need at least a few hours of sleep)
For now, I am just trying to do as much as I possibly can because I am a firm believer that doing a little is better than doing nothing at all. But how little and how often? Can I realistically keep a horse fit enough on these time restraints to be ready for my first ride of the reason on July 17th? I’m planning to do the limited distance. I had hoped to have both JB and Maggie ready for this ride so I could ride one horse each day, but that is one compromise I have already come to terms with. I am only going to be able to have one horse ready and that needs to be JB.
Here’s my Plan: I would love to get some feed back.
From now until Mid May – 8-10 miles rides on Saturdays and Sundays, every weekend. Two days a week of 1 hr sessions in the arena of trotting/cantering and dressage exercise. It seems this would at least serve to keep JB legged up and in halfway decent condition.
May 15 – July 12- I can probably manage a ride 2 evenings a week consistently of 8-10 mile from home (since it’s the work week and I won’t have time to haul anywhere after work) and then either Saturday or Sunday as my long day in the saddle away from home. Maybe 15-20 miles, depending on the terrain.
Here are my questions:
For session 1, would 8-10 mile rides back to back from now until May be too much if it’s fairly flat (at 7-8 mph trot)? JB seems to have handled 6-7 mile rides really well right out of the gate a few weeks back after being off for 3 months.
For Session 2- Is one weekend day of longer miles enough when combined with the shorter rides during the week?
For my goal of the July 17th ride, What’s too much? What’s not enough??
Am I being reasonable in my goal to have him sufficiently ready for that date?
Also, to keep in consideration, JB tends to be of the “hardy” sort and seems to recover from a long day in the saddle quite well. In fact, I can see him excelling at multiday rides more than one day 100 milers…but I also don’t want to take advantage of that fact and risk over conditioning.
I realize so much of this depends on the individual horse, but I am looking for guidelines from those of you with the experience that I lack. So, please… share some of your thoughts, experiences, suggestions.