This blog has MOVED!

Please visit for the most updated content. All these posts and more can be found over at the new URL.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Putting a horse back to work - 100 miles

Since I'm at work and as such can't respond to your comments......I get to write a whole post on this subject.  My apologies to the readers who have already had to sit through this particular topic!
I would like to remind everyone that Farley is kept in a fairly small dry paddock by herself.  She doesn't get to run around and play or gradually move around until 4 weeks later, "voila" I have a horse ready to go back to work. 
Based on advice from experienced endurance riders I trust, I don't feel comfortable letting her sit for longer than 10 days because of the risk of tying up.  Not to mention that Farley is bored, anxious and starts pacing around the perimeter of her pen if I don't entertain her on a regular basis. 
Is the situation ideal?  Absolutely not.  Her current situation is the only one available in the area, and fortunately we have a system that seems to work when recovering from a ride.
Back to "work" in 2 weeks means long walks down the canel (mounted and dismounted), some slow dressage (walk/trot, stretching over the top), lots of hand joging etc.  It does NOT mean conditioning or long rides.  It does NOT mean pounding out the miles. 
After a 100,  I'll wait least 4 weeks before asking for any significant work.  Any real work has to be done offsite from the boarding stable because I'm limited to an arena (which is not usable at this point because of the footing) and short sections of canal banks.  So unless I'm trailering out, she's not doing anything but what I just described, even on a regular basis when are not recovering from a 100.  
My plan for this 100 mile ride recovery is actually not to do ANY significant conditioning rides until the second week of April (6 weeks from our 100) where we will do a nice, slow, easy endurance ride.  She keeps her conditioning well so there should be any problem with this as long as she's lightly ridden in the weeks leading up to the ride.
My philosophy is that less is more once a horse is conditioned, especially because Farley holds onto her conditioning so well. 
I totally agree with those of you that say there is probably unseen damage after a 100 and I absolutely agree that a horse should have 3-4 weeks off - and that's if everything went well....I wish I had a pasture I could turn out her out for that time, but since I don't I have to work with what I have.   Farley looks forward to our slow work every day.  I'll admit that on Tuesday she wanted to trot, so I let her, just for moment.  She then tried to leap into the canter.....I laughed and told her she was a good girl and I was proud that she was feeling so good......but we went back to the walk and finished our ride. 
Hope that clears it up! :)  Regular "at the boarding stable" work, NOT regular "trailer out and do 20 miles at ride-pace" work. 
To those of you who are still insistent that she gets 4 weeks totally off - would you leave a horse in a what is basically a big, glorified stall with minimum turnout?  Especially a smart arab that is already known to have confinement issues/habits?  Or would you take a risk and after 2 weeks start putting her "back" to work doing nice slow fundamentals? 
Maybe my choice of words was unfortunate and gave the wrong picture - but what I meant is that we are going back to our regular work that occurs during the week which is as described - hand jogging and light dressage.  



  1. You're right--a big glorified stall isn't the place to recover from a 50, let alone a 100. Take her out, walk her around, let her play around.

    I'm spoiled--we don't even have a barn yet (damn) but the horses each have a 24'x24' paddock for feeding times+ a pasture (currently about 2.5 acres) to run around in the rest of the day/night.

  2. I would have to get a second horse. There's NO WAY I could ride a 100 then turn my horse out and not do anything with her for a whole month. Who are these people who give 4 weeks off? Don't they like riding?

  3. Funder most of us have multiple horses ;-) There is never any time off!


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.