How do you get your horse low level event fit?

Michen

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Not something I’ve ever had to worry about as I have just naturally done enough canter work and always had a horse full of beans at the end whether he was in an 80 with me or a 100 with his rider. But as he had an injury last year (fully rehabbed and signed off yonks ago but has done little structured fast work out of choice and lockdown ) I’m keener to put some structure behind it, building up the minutes.

Trouble is even our longest canter route is only 2.5 minutes, same with the non circular gallops. So the only time I can canter for longer without walking back down to canter back up is in the school.

Some articles I’m reading say you should be cantering for double the length of time of an XC, so 8-10 mins!? That seems excessive and especially to do so in a frame in the school!

How have you fittened a horse up particularly that’s had an injury? He does have a very good base level of fitness anyway as has done plenty of hacking with lots of hills, I have no doubt he would be more than fit enough to fly around anything even now (he keeps himself pretty fit regardless!), but it’s the injury I want to fitten up (if that makes sense) rather than his cardiovascular capabilities.

NB vet says to treat him like a normal horse to fitted up but I like to be extra cautious🙈
 

paddi22

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what was the injury he had? I rehab a lot of horses and I would never do canter circuits in an arena generally and especially on any that have had injuries, im just too paranoid about tweaking stuff! I like to keep them going straight as much as possible and find steep hillwork intervals fantastic as I've limited canter tracks.
 

Michen

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what was the injury he had? I rehab a lot of horses and I would never do canter circuits in an arena generally and especially on any that have had injuries, im just too paranoid about tweaking stuff! I like to keep them going straight as much as possible and find steep hillwork intervals fantastic as I've limited canter tracks.
He injured his straight sesamoid ligament, below the fetlock. It’s healed perfectly but there are some adhesions in the digital sheath, but vet says should only improve (even though he’s sound) with more canter work. We are over a year post injury and he could have been eventing last year if I’d wanted to so not too concerned Re school work as he’s already doing a decent amount of it and feels brilliant. But I agree, I don’t really want to be cantering around and around the school on any horse!!

He does loads of hill work, he’s really fit, but I’m conscious that he won’t have cantered for that length of time and it seems a big jump to go from sets of 2.5 mins (even if I do several) to a solid 4/4,5 mins without building it up, with the injury in mind?
 

RachelFerd

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It sounds to me like you're doing plenty of fittening work for 80/90 and there would be no need to do anything extra. I think you're more likely to increase risk of re-injury by doing excess canter work beyond what is needed.

I am currently doing interval canter work with my 2* horse in the arena (30x50 arena) because he is kept somewhere completely flat, and we have nowhere to canter out hacking this time of year. He is a thoroughbred so doesn't need to do that much anyway. I do canter sets in the arena where I switch direction for each repeat, and then rest for 1 minute in walk between each repeat. My progress of sets is as follows over the course of 5 weeks -

1,1,1,1,1 (5 mins total)
1,2,1,2,1 (7 mins total)
1,2,3,2,1 (9 mins total)
2,3,4,2 (11 mins total)
1,2,3,3,2,2 (13 mins total)

I am only doing this because there is no hillwork, and horse is prepping for 2* mid May. I am only going at a hand canter, in a light seat. It isn't quick!
 

LEC

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Up to 1.05 eventing they should be doing the following:
2 x 4 mins @ 400mpm
Your sprint work should be decent warm up in walk and trot for 30 minutes, once up the gallops in steady canter and then up once at 550mpm. This would be on a 5-7 furlong gallops.

To be honest I don't bother taking anything to the gallops until looking at running to time at Novice/FEI as will give me longer than 6 weeks to put the effort in. I can normally get them fit enough through runs and normal hacking. But I do have really good hills and beach round here so have a solid base fitness.

An 80/90/100 horse I do nothing but regular work which does incorporate some cantering up hills etc. The only time I would be getting them fitter than that is if the weather is getting hot then I tend to strip back their weight and put more effort into the fast work for anything 100+.
 

Michen

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Up to 1.05 eventing they should be doing the following:
2 x 4 mins @ 400mpm
Your sprint work should be decent warm up in walk and trot for 30 minutes, once up the gallops in steady canter and then up once at 550mpm. This would be on a 5-7 furlong gallops.

To be honest I don't bother taking anything to the gallops until looking at running to time at Novice/FEI as will give me longer than 6 weeks to put the effort in. I can normally get them fit enough through runs and normal hacking. But I do have really good hills and beach round here so have a solid base fitness.

An 80/90/100 horse I do nothing but regular work which does incorporate some cantering up hills etc. The only time I would be getting them fitter than that is if the weather is getting hot then I tend to strip back their weight and put more effort into the fast work for anything 100+.
How does anyone do 4 mins of canter work unless it's in the school though...

Tricky.

I guess I just feel like I should be building up the canter work minute wise to what he would be doing on an XC, because of the injury, but maybe it's overkill.
 

RachelFerd

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How does anyone do 4 mins of canter work unless it's in the school though...

Tricky.

I guess I just feel like I should be building up the canter work minute wise to what he would be doing on an XC, because of the injury, but maybe it's overkill.

I think it is probably overkill. When I worked with flat racehorses running over 2 miles, we weren't ever galloping them over 2 miles. More injuries happen through overdoing it at home than at the event.
 

be positive

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Up to 1.05 eventing they should be doing the following:
2 x 4 mins @ 400mpm
Your sprint work should be decent warm up in walk and trot for 30 minutes, once up the gallops in steady canter and then up once at 550mpm. This would be on a 5-7 furlong gallops.

To be honest I don't bother taking anything to the gallops until looking at running to time at Novice/FEI as will give me longer than 6 weeks to put the effort in. I can normally get them fit enough through runs and normal hacking. But I do have really good hills and beach round here so have a solid base fitness.

An 80/90/100 horse I do nothing but regular work which does incorporate some cantering up hills etc. The only time I would be getting them fitter than that is if the weather is getting hot then I tend to strip back their weight and put more effort into the fast work for anything 100+.
I would be much the same, unless the horse is very stuffy, which yours certainly isn't, then normal work with a bit of extra cantering on jumping days should be sufficient for 80/90's they do not need to canter for the same period of a xc in their fitness work it should be based more on interval training at this level, as just said racehorses do not train over the distances they race over they build the stamina in other ways.
 

Michen

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I think it is probably overkill. When I worked with flat racehorses running over 2 miles, we weren't ever galloping them over 2 miles. More injuries happen through overdoing it at home than at the event.
That's interesting to hear thanks. I'll just do what I've always done then and tbh any events he does do in spring will be absolutely tiny and minimal - maybe two 70cms - and we will be lolloping around them, a break in summer when the ground hardens and then back to it properly in autumn (if the stars all align that is).
 

Michen

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I would be much the same, unless the horse is very stuffy, which yours certainly isn't, then normal work with a bit of extra cantering on jumping days should be sufficient for 80/90's they do not need to canter for the same period of a xc in their fitness work it should be based more on interval training at this level, as just said racehorses do not train over the distances they race over they build the stamina in other ways.
Thank you! No he sure isn't, he's raring to go and plotting how he's going to terrorise Bear around a pairs 65cm in April...
 

LEC

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How does anyone do 4 mins of canter work unless it's in the school though...

Tricky.

I guess I just feel like I should be building up the canter work minute wise to what he would be doing on an XC, because of the injury, but maybe it's overkill.
Mine are not really even cantering much at the moment as I don't have an arena but they are going up steep hills in trot for about 4 mins with a final burst of 30-45 seconds in canter which makes them really blow. My canter field is a mess, I cannot travel so beach is out and my normal hill gallop is also out because of travel. Worst case I will run slower in my first 100 but I expect the horse to be fit enough. I will have 2 weeks before first event and lockdown ending.
 

be positive

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Thank you! No he sure isn't, he's raring to go and plotting how he's going to terrorise Bear around a pairs 65cm in April...
That sounds like a perfect introduction to his season, I am trying to work out how many we took out 80/90 over the years but well into double figures and they were a mixed bunch, we had very limited cantering out hacking, loads of hills on the roads though, generally they did very little structured faster work although a fair bit of decent canter schooling and generally came home within or near the time, a few got tf pens, it was so much easier than prepping the more advanced horses which did require fast work to allow them to be genuinely fit enough when the jumping efforts are also far more testing.
 

Michen

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That sounds like a perfect introduction to his season, I am trying to work out how many we took out 80/90 over the years but well into double figures and they were a mixed bunch, we had very limited cantering out hacking, loads of hills on the roads though, generally they did very little structured faster work although a fair bit of decent canter schooling and generally came home within or near the time, a few got tf pens, it was so much easier than prepping the more advanced horses which did require fast work to allow them to be genuinely fit enough when the jumping efforts are also far more testing.
Yep makes sense. I'm definitely going to make the effort to do structured canter work with Bog as vet thinks it should help stretch the adhesions, but I'll be content with the 2.5 mins up long canter hill/gallops after what the vet has said.

Plus it'll help keep the weight off the fat one who is finding his fifth gear at the moment.
 

GG13

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I would have thought what you’re doing already is plenty for 80/90/100, especially if he’s a naturally fit type.

I find hill work the best for base level fitness without doing lots of fast work and would’ve thought this would be good for strengthening the injury too. Though if you’re worried about the additional stress of fast work then you could incorporate one interval session every week or so just so you're happy the leg can stand up to the work. Even sets of 2 mins canter should be sufficient for this. When doing fiteness training I work on shortening rest periods in between rather than lengthening the fast work too much.

I have never needed to do any additional fitness work on top of my normal training for anything up to 100, even if coming back from injury
 

Michen

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Thanks everyone. Very helpful :)

Eeeek, I don't want to feel too optimistic as I won't know how he truly is until we start properly jumping again but he feels so damn good in every way. I am actually ENJOYING schooling... pre injury I dragged myself in once a month for a tick box dressage lesson!
 

paddi22

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I tend to do an unaffiliated small run at the start of the season just to gauge where the horse is at fitness wise. I always find it hard to gauge where they are at unless I've done a few hunter trials.
 

Roxylola

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This just came up on my Facebook, they're not timed and placed but still BE courses, might be worth a look if not for yours @Michen then maybe for others looking to train but not quite sure if they're ready to compete. The training one gives the option to jump down on the xc so could enter a 90 but make use of some of the 80 alternatives (and also to jump up at certain fences)
 

ownedbyaconnie

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Could you hire gallops (unsure if they are open in time for your event) just to go once and have a few long canters more for your own piece of mind?
 

Michen

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Could you hire gallops (unsure if they are open in time for your event) just to go once and have a few long canters more for your own piece of mind?
Yes but the ones I use aren’t massively more than a couple of minutes I don’t think. They aren’t circular
 

Ambers Echo

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Katie is going to Norton Disney on 10th April, We have grass verges to canter up but that's 30 seconds max. So today we did do some canter intervals in our 30X50 arena. We started at opposite ends of the arena on the same rein and went through the gears - steady round the top and bottom ends of the arena, stepping up on the straights. I discovered that Mr Pipe and Slippers stayed chilled even when chased, caught up and overtaken by a snorting, excited Dolly. He just merrily lolloped along behind her without changing his own pace. The Tb in him has never yet made an appearance!

Neither broke a sweat or ran out of energy at any stage tonight so I think we will be ok.
 

Hallo2012

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rather than gallops is there any pay per year permissive hacking?

i box up to a local estate (£125/6 months) and can easily do 4-4.5 min cantering with small inclines all year round......its been the making of a small chubby native galloping alonside a LW 16hh!
 

Michen

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Lucky them! Have fun. It's made me wonder about doing pairs with Toby as getting him to follow another horse could be good for him x
I'm not sure it would have been my first choice for a young horse actually, as I worry about him feeling left behind and not looking where he is going enough... I think we will practice jumping astride to take that out of the equation as an issue.

That said we are going anyway but with zero expectations :D I expect Bog will be.. wild.
 

AandK

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I've only ever done mostly 80/90 level with the odd 100 over the years, and my old boy is a TB so keeps fit easily. I never did any specific canter fitness with him such as interval training, just cantering on hacks. He also had two ligament injuries during his career and once the rehab was done, I didn't do any extra canter work, just carried on as usual and I don't think ever did more than 2-3 min at a time out hacking.
 
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