Getting a cob fit for riding holiday

trary

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Hi, I share a cob (twice a week for me) and the owner is going on. Riding holiday in the May half term. He has been ridden through the winter once or twice a week and now we need to up it to get him fit. He has kept condition and is clipped as he sweats up hugely.
I have started in the school as he gets foot sore with too much road work. For two weeks I have lunged one day, 15 mins walk, trot on the largest circle I can make and then let him off for a blast, before cooling down.
How can I begin upping this exercise?

I'm guessing it's length of trot, quality, drawing the circle in a bit...
How do you know when to canter?

I will start riding him in the school too this week but that's probably much harder for him cos my riding is awful! ☺️
 

MiJodsR2BlinkinTite

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OK firstly I think you/the owner, need to sort out the "foot sore" issue as with normal riding a horse IMO shouldn't get "foot sore" merely from hacking out, unless he's been hammered/trotted too much.

So I'd recommend a chat with the farrier and you could then also discuss a shoeing programme bearing in mind your date in May half term as you need to make sure he's got a good set of shoes ready to go on holiday with! Ideally he should be shod fairly on in the preceding week, i.e. NOT the day before you go!!

Re. fittening. Your best bet is to ask the people who really will know the answers, and that is Endurance riders. If you go onto their website at www.endurancegb.co.uk as there no doubt will be stuff on there which should help you. IMO Endurance people are only too ready and willing to offer help, advice & assistance and if you contact your local group they'd be only too happy to advise you on how to get your cob fit. You never know, you might even get hooked........... :) Endurance GB/local groups often organise pleasure rides alongside their competitive rides and it is a good way to start as these events are always impeccably organised.
 

AmyMay

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I agree about the foot sore issue. How's it expected to cope with a riding holiday if it can't hack out?

Lunging is probably of little use - riding is what will get the horse fit. The horse needs to be ridden every day. If the horse has been ridden all through the winter (albeit once a week) you should be able to introduce some short spells of trot and canter now. Build this up quietly over the next 4 weeks so that he's hacking out for a good hour and a half to two hours happily. Don't underestimate the importance of a good active walk.
 

be positive

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I agree about the foot sore issue. How's it expected to cope with a riding holiday if it can't hack out?

Lunging is probably of little use - riding is what will get the horse fit. The horse needs to be ridden every day. If the horse has been ridden all through the winter (albeit once a week) you should be able to introduce some short spells of trot and canter now. Build this up quietly over the next 4 weeks so that he's hacking out for a good hour and a half to two hours happily. Don't underestimate the importance of a good active walk.

This, lunging may help add some fitness but will not get him fit for a riding holiday, if he sweats up a lot and gets footsore on the roads I would think he is not in the least bit fit, may be carrying far too much weight and possibly bordering on or even suffering from laminitis. If he cannot hack out now he will not be up to a riding holiday without getting the feet sorted so he can get into some proper work ASAP although this is not really your problem it is the owner who needs to sort out the feet and have a fitness plan in place.
 

trary

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I'm quite happy the owner understands the footsore issue, I didn't say he was footsore, just that he can get it on the rears as there is very limited off roading round here. He sweats up all year, I don't think it's a weight carrying issue, I'm only 10 stone and he's 14.3 very chunky build. I'm doing the schooling as he will be ridden out on four other days. But i do take on board your concerns, lami would certainly be my worry as I've had ponies of my own that I had to keep a close eye on for most of the year.
Good idea re endurance. I loved doing that before I had kids. Thanks guys.
 

Joanne_Stockport

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I agree with other regarding foot soreness, it needs to be addressed before you start training seriously.

Regarding riding holidays, how many miles is the horse expected to do every day? Is is on flat ground or up hills? is it mostly walks or mainly trot canter?

I train my cob for pleasure ride (12 miles long as a speed of 5 miles/hour minimum). It means we need to complete our rides below 2 and a half hour for a 12 miles distance. As my cob is very slow walking , he will trot for most of the ride so I train him before so he is fit enough.

I start slowly, one day lunging, one day schooling and two days hacking. I will start lunging with mostly walk and add trot and canter as he gets fitter. A lot of transitions too.
Schooling is just regular stuff (walk, trot ,canter). Hacking I will start with a 4 miles ride at walk then each week I will add more and more trot + canter. Once he can do it easy I will add miles up to 6-10 miles every time I hack out.

I am not an expert ! It works for us and cob and completing 12 miles without any problems.
If you have hills, do a lot of hill work too.
 

be positive

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I didn't mean he was carrying too much weight in the sense the rider may be too heavy but that he is overweight hence getting sweaty doing very little, some do sweat despite being fairly fit but a slim fit horse will usually manage light exercise without sweating at all.
 

fatpiggy

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I would be looking to do at least one 4 hour hack at weekends every weekend, mostly walk with just a bit of trotting and the occasional canter - but if you say he gets footsore then I wouldn't be even considering taking him on a riding holiday, especially one which is only a few weeks away. Cobs take longer to get really fit than the lighter breeds. They are designed to work steadily for longer periods, not be galloping about and jumping so you have to prepare their bodies much more thoroughly.
 
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