So when your out conditioning your horse and you have to ask them to give you a little more, listen, maybe they don't have anymore to give. Do you get that dirty look that says, I don't want to go any faster, listen....
I think it is so important to have a happy horse, if he does not like to go fast or to work hard and have a good attitude about it, you need to listen. You can still make them go faster and get them more fit, but what the hell fun is that, it should be fun for both horse and rider.
I will have future post about how to keep it interesting for your horse, mix it up, cross train, do something different, go different places.
Easy to say, and not so easy to do, but probably the most important thing you can learn when you get into hard conditioning or racing. Horses that are on the "muscle" with lots of adrenalin are not the same when in the vet check or on a short rest.. Make sure your heart rates are where they should be and that your horse is happy and having fun, this is at the vet check or when stopped. If they are not pretty perky you need to back off, way way off, if not quit. Some horses can get to this stage of a little overriding and still get them back for a strong finish if you slow down. If you let the horse go at "Their own Speed" you are going to get into trouble. You have to have done your homework as to how fast they can go, and that probably means fighting them the whole ride. That is way you always train faster in training then when racing. We hardly ever will get our horses heart rates over 150 in a race, but in training a lot of the training is done in that rage and higher. If your going to do a ride at 10mph, you better practice a pace of probably 12mph or faster. On the last loop of WEG a few of the horses did that 12 or 15 mile loop at 20MPH. Now do you think that this is the first and only time that these horses have done that? I don't think that, my best bet is that they practiced going at that speed and higher. I have ridden at 20mph on a horse and it is fast, very fast, and I cannot imagine a horse that could go much faster then that for that length of time.. pretty amazing, but someone is doing there homework. If the USA is to be competitive in international competition we have to strive for excellence in our conditioning programs... Another story.
Listening to your horse should be on a daily basis, not just on conditioning or race day. Know what and how much they are eating, maintain a good athletic working weight that does not vary too much. Check feet and legs for heat or swelling as well as the rest of the horse. When grooming pay attention, look for lumps, rubs, girth sores etc.. Pretend you are waxing your brand new Porsche or more then likely a new one ton dual cab diesel truck... check everything.
Pretty basic stuff I know, but I have been guilty of not paying attention and starting off on some serious training when there was a problem I should of addressed before hand. Be it feet that needed a bit of a trim, to maybe not taking the time to use baby powder on my gaiters... or not putting some meds on a girth gall.
NOT: Do not listen when they tell you they want to go faster then they do in training....
Do not listen when they tell you they can go fast downhill when you don't do it on conditioning rides.
Do not listen when they say that they want to tag along with their buddy horse who is twice as fast.
Do not listen when they say they can run through that deep sand without any sand training.
Do not listen when they say ?????????
But he wanted to go that fast, I did not make him go!
I was riding with my friend and he just kept up!
The sand washes were not that long, and we did not go that fast!
Well he did run up a few of those long hills!
Fur side up........... MONK brothers racing LTD....