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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Ivers Book Review: Part 2 Confirmation & Tying up

This is part 2 of the review.

Apparently a crooked legged horse (as long as it isn’t too the extreme) should not be discriminated against when looking for a performance animal. This surprised me, but makes sense. There is a principle called "Wolff's Law” which states that the stress placed upon the crooked leg bone will remodel that bone so that it ends up as strong as if it was straight! My Endurance take: Now, everything being equal, I wouldn’t choose a crooked legged horse, but since no horse is ideal (and putting in your horse for sale ad that your horse has “perfect confirmation” makes you look like an idiot) and compromises are made, knowing this (and doing more research on this principle first!), I wouldn’t let a slight crookedness bother me if looking for a performance horse.

Ivers addreses tying up in the performance horse throughout the book. The typical culprit is a filly that is a bit high strung, that is working 5-6 days a week. His recommendation is that the horse be given some work every day – even the day after a race. He also stresses that workouts must be based on the horses performance in the previous workout and their attitude. A bit sluggish, not recovery as quickly? IMMEDIATELY make the next work out easy, or give the horse an easy day. Even if he seems fine the next day. You may have just headed off a injury. My Endurance take: Since starting endurance I have felt very strongly that the biggest factor in any good conditioning plan is rest. As a result my plans have always been to ride 3-4 days a week (with some groundwork/bonding the other days) with one longer ride per week, and at least 1-2 weeks off after a race, depending on distance. I want to share what I’ve been contemplating based on Ivers book – I haven’t made any concrete decisions but I’m going to try something a little different this year. First of all, I think one reason that it would be important for a Thoroughbred in training to get out every day is because on their off day they are going to be in a stall with limited turnout and movement. This is a classic formula for tying up on the next work day. Probably, Endurance horses do well with limited days of work per week because they are managed differently. *Most* (I’ve never seen an actual statistic about the management of endurance horses, so this is mostly conjuncture) endurance horses are kept on pasture, or in large areas where they can move around. So what about my own situation? While Farley is not in a stall, she isn’t in a pasture either. The size of her dry lot does not encourage movement throughout the day, although she is fairly active (I can see the little paths she carves in the dirt), it’s not the same as being in a pasture. So I’ve decided that I will ride her every single day I can – which works out to 6-7 days a week. On the days we normally would have rested, we are now going on one hour walking canal rides. This shouldn’t cause any more wear and tear than an off day and I think it’s helping her stay healthier mentally and physically. I’m also going to take to heart Ivers advice on doing an easy workout the day after race. Instead of standing in her dry lot, I will either handwalk her for 30-60 minutes or ride at a walk. I won’t demand anything of her (ie we will be going down a canal bank on a loose rein at a walk) but movement is good for a horse. I will be thinking in terms of active rest this year.


  1. Since im to lazy, yes i admitted it (but its my 1 day off from school), to open up my email i will just comment on your ride calendar here :)

    January 2009- (isn't it 2010 but anyways :) you could do Bar H...

    Zach :)

  2. Ha! I just changed the year...silly me.

    My options are Fire Mountain, Bar H, or Warner springs.....

    Fire Mountain is the closest to me, Warner springs is the best ride timewise, and Bar H is a a 2 day run by the Duck! All 3 of them have fabulous reasons to go....

    I keep going back and forth between the options. I was going to go to GitRDone before I saw the rediculous entry fee.

  3. LOL i saw the fees flyer go up about 3 weeks ago and just laughed and said "i don't think Mel will pay that!"

    I might be going to fire mountain or Warner with Bo, MAYBE :) hope to see you a ride next season! Tevis maybe?

  4. When you decide on which ride, let me know! That will definately influence which one I chose. And yes, you should definately see me this season - WW, AR, Tevis etc!

  5. Have you ever read Mary Bromilys fit to ride? If you haven't, DO! I can lend it to you when we ride if you like.

    She is a big believer in light excersice the day after a hard workout. She really helps you understand what is going on condition wise with your horses body.

    I had to read it several times to understand it, but it is the cornerstone to my conditioning program (you know, the non-exisitant one!!)

    Maybe you will see me at one of those rides! Although if I do buy the gelding, I am going to spend the winter bonding with him and retraining him not to run! hahah!

  6. I'd love to borrow the book. I'm a good borrower and I do return them. :)

  7. I'll be sure to let u know when i chose :)


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