Getting fit

SueAllen

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Joined
14 July 2005
Messages
253
Ok, I'm sure this has been done before but I can't find what I need to know. I'm just after an idiot's guide to getting a horse fit for trail hunting in the winter.

He's not been completely let down but has only had a couple of hacks a week from the end of last season and is now pretty fat and lazy (as am I!
) So, given that we've got about 8 weeks can anyone give me a blow by blow guide to what we need to be aiming for each week. We've not got many hills but I can find a couple of slopes, plenty of quiet lanes and roads, access to a school and a vet friend who has shown me how to take his pulse. He's a 16hh ID x TB type and is 15 so I really feel I need to get him properly fit for a season (particularly as a friends 19 yo has just dropped dead of a heart attack, suspected to be because he was hunted too much and underfit)

Any help much appreciated!
 

Paint it Lucky

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Joined
19 March 2007
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3,587
Location
Surrey
I would first up his workload to five/six days a week,
For the first week school twice for half an hour in walk trot and canter (not much canter), keeping everything fairly simple and what you feel he can cope with. On the other days hack out for half and hour-40mins mainly in walk with some trot/the odd canter.
Week 2: Up the hacks to 40-45mins with more trot and canter. Only school for half an hour but make it slightly more intense, have some lessons if you can as these will be a good workout and show you what to work on.
Week 3: 45min-1hr hacks and 45 mins schooling. Incorporate a few slopes whilst hacking, walk up at first then trot or canter as he feels fitter.
Weeks 4+: Continue gradually upping his workload like this, staying at a level for a few days then working a bit harder when you feel he is fit enough. If he starts to feel tired reduce his work a bit/ don't ask too much that day. Can introduce a few jumps, start small, gradually build up. By week 5/6 you can start taking him for a few longer hacks~2hrs to start with, once a week, I would want him to be comfortably hacking for 3hrs with a reasonable amount of trotting and cantering before I felt happy to take him hunting. By the end of week five you can introduce a little fast canter. Build on this in the following weeks so he is able to gallop for a few minutes without feeling too puffed as he will have to canter fast when out hunting and you ot only need him used to it for fitness purposes but also so his tendons can prepare for it, so lessening the risk of injury.

I hope this helps, good luck with the hunting I'm sure you'll both really enjoy it!
 

laurenpalmer

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Joined
28 May 2007
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78
Location
Liphook, Hampshire
Start little and often like half an hour six days a week lunging light schooling and light hacking, then build it up. As often as you can is good, but if time is a problem i would say no less riding than 4 days a week. Do lots and lots of all trotting hacks, building it up to 20 minutes + trotting at a time. On the road has many disadvantages although is very good for their bum muscles! Do lots of forward going canters up hills/slopes and gradually build the time you trot and canter. Don't do too much walking, because they find it boring and doesn't do much for their fitness, only occasionally to let him get his breath back! When he gets tierd push him a bit, but then let him rest for a bit because he will never get fit if whenever he starts sweating breathing louder ect then stops, but don't over do it! hacking is the best for getting fit, but schooling is essential for other stuff! ive got a get fit program if you want it! pm me if so so i can send it to you
 

Paint it Lucky

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Joined
19 March 2007
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3,587
Location
Surrey
Walking IS good for getting fit and essential for the early stages of a fittening programme in an unfit horse. You need to do mainly walk for the first few weeks or it'll be too much for him, he'll get tired and possibly injured. Walking is also the best way to burn fat so making it easier for him to do fast work later on in the programme.
 

SueAllen

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Joined
14 July 2005
Messages
253
He has mostly done on average two or three hacks a week with quite a lot of walking, short bouts of trotting and the occasional short canter which doesn't get him puffing. But it's all been very variable and he's had 3 separate weeks off (due to one thing and another). He seems to have an underlying base level of fitness but that has been neglected and he has put on weight
He's strong physically so I'm hoping that it shouldn't take long to pick up again. Bit like me really!!
 
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