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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Fit to Ride Part 3 - Skeletal

There was a high emphasis on blood tests to evaluate condition that I must admit I yawned and skimmed my way through....

On to the bones!

First Phase of Conditioning

She mentions "Wolff's Law", which I first heard about in Tom Iver's book. She goes on to say that the skeletal system adapts to the increased load by an initial de-mineralization, followed by a re-mineralization. The mineral loss occurs in the first 60 days of training, remains low for ~ 6 further weeks, and then starts to remineralize gradually to a level considered appropriate for the continuation and increase in training requirements. (A specific study supporting this conclusion is cited within the text).
  • This was very very interesting. I knew that the bones adapted and got stronger over time, but I didn't realize that the bone first got weaker. No wonder the first 3 months of slow and steady work is so critical to any real training!

During these first few months of conditioning a variety of surfaces need to be incorporated in the training....going round and round in a arena doesn't count.

  • This gave me the confirmation that I had felt in my gut....I can't give Farley credit for the arena mileage we do. It is time in the saddle, useful training, and cross-conditioning - but it does not contribute to the trail miles needed to keep her in trail condition. I will continue to keep the time spent in the arena separate from the trail mileage in my evaluation of her program.

As the bones begin to remineralize, it's important to evaluate mineral supplementation so that no "borrowing" of minerals from other biological structures occurs.

Second Phase of conditioning

After 12 weeks of activities on a variety of surfaces, introduce controlled concussive forces, roadwork, and various muscle activities (such as work over undulating terrain).

After both these conditioning phases are done, then the cardio system can start to be conditioned.

Bromiley also mentions that an exposure to a wide variety of terrains and conditions for short periods of time is much better than excessively conditioning on one particular type of terrain during the skeletal remodeling phase.

Next: The muscles


  1. I'm glad to be reminded of this stuff -- I learned it years ago from ti and others, but haven't revisited recently...and probably should, since I've got a young mare who will start endurance training this year >knocking wood<

    It does reassure me that the last two years with the mare weren't wasted (although I wanted to start endurance with her and encountered setbacks from my life), because that whole time we were stressing and building bone.

    Okay, so that's a good thing! Onward! I'm enjoying your reviews, Mel.

  2. This is really good timing for me, too. Dixie is pretty much finished with the LSD, and now I have to figure out what to do next. The AERC handbook is pretty comprehensive, but I can't just read one thing and follow it. I have to read a bunch of things and synthesize the best ideas!

    I keep thinking about getting the ti racehorse book. But she's not a racehorse. I wish he'd written an endurance horse book, or he'd NOT posted 15,000 messages online so I'd have a shot a reading through them!

  3. Ergh, obviously I mean I wish he'd posted fewer than 15,000 messages.

  4. Funder - If you can find this book used or at a reasonable price (it comes from the UK so it can be a bit pricey) I do reccomend it. The caveat is as I posted in part 2 - I wouldn't take everything in it as gospel truth unless you are able to substantiate it from an outside source. However, the rest of the information in it seems quite good and useful. It certaintly is the most comprehensive conditioning manual for the eventing sport I've seen in a while, and eventing (long course) has similar fittness expectations as endurance....

    No book is going to be perfect, but if you are willing to do your own leg work to confirm information and spend some time understanding difficult concepts (parts of this book read like an physiology text book), ths book may be a good fit.

  5. Funder - I have another Tom Ivers book in teh queue to be reviewed, so if you can hang on for a few weeks, there may be anotehr book option for you to consider.

  6. Well, Amazon has it used. Under $10 including shipping from a couple of US vendors. I may pick it up!

  7. Funder, don't forget that you can ask your local public library to borrow books from another library (I checked, Reno NV libraries don't carry any Tom Ivers titles). There is usually no cost, although some libraries will ask people to pay shipping for a book sent from elsewhere.

    Most public libraries don't carry his stuff but they can borrow it from an academic library that does have it!

  8. Funder, if you want, I have a pretty extensive library you are MORE than welcome to borrow from. I'll send you a private email of the titles I have. I can bring it to work and get it back to you that way. I have ti's The Fit Racehorse II as well as several endurance specific titles. Plus a whole huge binder of useful stuff that I've printed and filed.

    I also DO have a ti endurance horse conditioning post - specifically geared toward prepping a horse for a COMPETITIVE 100-mile ride. I haven't looked at it in a while (too regimented for me, and unapplicable) but I believe he talks about or at least alludes to some of the early conditioning.

  9. Ooooh, yall are so smart - books can be borrowed! ~C, I'd love to work my way through your library. Aarene, I had kind of forgotten that libraries borrow from each other - thanks!


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