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Goals, wooly horses, and re-conditioning….

December 7, 2010

December

This is fitness month. Working on bringing Cass back into work and getting him looking nice for the real work to start!

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And it’s almost the new year! You know what that means, right? Another goal list!

Goals 2011

Get him fit and work on cardio and topline

Refine aids to invisible

Work on consistency

Use legs more, hands less

Post/two point without stirrups

Mount from the ground

W/t/c bareback

Get the sitting trot down

Perfect the half halt and use it

Do a flying lead change on purpose

Work on basic collection and impulsion

Make our circles circular

Be able to do all basic lateral movements

Complete a training level dressage test

Complete a first level dressage test

Jump 2′

Jump 2’6

Jump 3′

Jump a 2’6 course

Be able to hack confidently

Go on the the bridle path

Ride (w,t) on the polo field

Ride (w,t,c) on the polo field

Ride (w,t) on the track

Ride (w,t,c) on the track

Gallop on the polo field

Gallop on the track

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And now, because my horse is fat and completely un-muscular, I present to you…

The Eight Week Fitness Plan for Fat Horses

Week One

Focus: Get him used to working again. Bring his mind back to where it needs to be. Do mostly walking, interspersed with a few w/t transitions. Practice square halts, straightness, basic suppleness and bending on serpentines and in corners, and a stretchy free walk. Work for approximately 20 minutes, not counting relaxed walk at beginning and end

Monday: Turnout with a light longe session. Longe for approximately 15 minutes with a lot of walking and a few w/t transitions. Less than a minute of trotting each time

Tuesday: Turnout and free longe for approximately 15 minutes. Focus on w/t transitions and halting. Trot for small intervals. Tack up and walk around the arena for 10 minutes after, allowing him to stretch

Wednesday: Turnout and free longe for approximately 15 minutes. Focus on w/t transitions and halting. Trot for small intervals. Tack up and walk around the arena for 10 minutes after, allowing him to stretch

Thursday: Ride for approximately 20 minutes. Mainly walking, a few w/t transitions

Friday: Ride for approximately 20 minutes. Mainly walking, a few w/t transitions

Saturday: Off

Sunday: Off

Week Two

Focus: Make his body work again. Right now, he’s pretty clumsy. W/t transitions and light suppling work. Still mostly just walking, but make it a real walk. Very minimal bending exercises, mostly straight lines. Reintroduce the track. Work for approximately 30 minutes, not counting relaxed walk at beginning and end

Monday: Ride for approximately 30 minutes. Mainly walking, a few w/t transitions

Tuesday: Ride for approximately 30 minutes. Mainly walking, a few w/t transitions. Add in more suppling and bending exercises. Work on riding him into corners

Wednesday: Ride for approximately 30 minutes. Walking and trotting, less than 5-7 minutes trotting total. Add in more suppling and bending exercises. Work on riding him into corners and on nice serpentines

Thursday: Walk around the track for about 30 minutes

Friday: Ride for approximately 30 minutes. Walking and trotting, less than 5-7 minutes trotting total. Add in more suppling and bending exercises. Work on riding him into corners and on nice serpentines

Saturday: Ride in the arena for 10 minutes, working on transitions and suppleness. Take a walk around the track

Sunday: Walk around the track for about 30 minutes

Week Three

Focus: Start to build up muscle. Do more w/t transitions. Continue to practice a good, square halt and backing. Trot for two 5 minute intervals every day. Work for approximately 35 minutes, not counting relaxed walk at beginning and end

Monday: Off

Tuesday: Ride for about 35 minutes, focusing on w/t transitions. Trot for two 5 minute intervals. Try to do this on the track

Wednesday: Ride for about 35 minutes, focusing on suppleness. Make serpentines nice. Trot for two 5 minute intervals

Thursday: Ride for about 35 minutes, focusing on w/t transitions. Trot for two 5 minute intervals. Try to do this on the track

Friday: Ride for about 35 minutes, focusing on suppleness. Make serpentines nice. Trot for two 5 minute intervals. Start in the arena and move out to the track

Saturday: Ride for about 35 minutes, focusing on w/t transitions. Trot for two 5 minute intervals. Try to do this on the track

Sunday: Ride for about 35 minutes, focusing on suppleness. Make serpentines and 40m circles nice. Try to find cones to keep us accurate. Trot for two 5 minute intervals

Week Four

Focus: Bending and suppling. Introduce 20m circles and really work on serpentines and bending around corners. Accuracy is the goal here. Trot for two 10 minute intervals each day. Work for approximately 40 minutes, not counting relaxed walk at beginning and end

Monday: Off

Tuesday: Ride for about 40 minutes, focusing on suppleness. Really ride into corners but keep him straight when on the rail. Serpentines, figure eights, 20m circles, and spirals to 30-20m. Trot for two 10 minute intervals

Wednesday: Ride for about 40 minutes, focusing on suppleness. Really ride into corners but keep him straight when on the rail. Serpentines, figure eights, 20m circles, and spirals to 30-20m. Trot for two 10 minute intervals

Thursday: Ride for about 40 minutes, focusing on suppleness. Really ride into corners but keep him straight when on the rail. Serpentines, figure eights, 20m circles, and spirals to 30-20m. Trot for two 10 minute intervals

Friday: Ride for about 40 minutes, focusing on suppleness. Really ride into corners but keep him straight when on the rail. Serpentines, figure eights, 20m circles, and spirals to 30-20m. Trot for two 10 minute intervals

Saturday: Ride for about 40 minutes, focusing on suppleness. Really ride into corners but keep him straight when on the rail. Serpentines, figure eights, 20m circles, and spirals to 20m. Ask him to work from behind. Trot for two 10 minute intervals

Sunday: Ride for about 40 minutes, focusing on suppleness. Really ride into corners but keep him straight when on the rail. Serpentines, figure eights, 20m circles, and spirals to 20m. Ask him to work from behind. Trot for two 10 minute intervals

Week Five

Focus: Contact and connection. Keep him off the forehand. Practice square halts from both the walk and trot. Ask him to move out in his trot. Reintroduce the canter in short bursts. Trot for two 15 minute intervals each day. Work for approximately 45 minutes, not counting relaxed walk at beginning and end

Monday: Off

Tuesday:

Wednesday:

Thursday:

Friday:

Saturday:

Sunday:

Week Six

Focus: Suppleness and responsiveness. Work on transitions within all gaits, focusing on extending the trot and working to free walk. Introduce the reinback. Keep working on suppling exercises, including tighter circles. Trot for one 20-25 minute interval each day. Work for approximately 50 minutes, not counting relaxed walk at beginning and end

Monday: Off

Tuesday:

Wednesday:

Thursday:

Friday:

Saturday:

Sunday:

Week Seven

Focus: Endurance and muscle building. Continue to work on transitions within all gaits, focusing on extending the trot and start to collect and work off the hind. Do a lot of straight lines and simple aerobic type exercises this week. Use the track as much as possible. Practice pieces of basic dressage tests while in the ring. Trot for 30 continuous minutes at least 3 times this week. Work for approximately 55 minutes, not counting relaxed walk at beginning and end

Monday: Off

Tuesday:

Wednesday:

Thursday:

Friday:

Saturday:

Sunday:

Week Eight

Focus: Endurance and muscle building. Continue to work on transitions within all gaits, focusing on extending the trot and start to collect and work off the hind. Do a lot of straight lines and simple aerobic type exercises this week. Use the track as much as possible. Practice pieces of basic dressage tests while in the ring. Trot for 30-35 continuous minutes 3 times this week. Work for approximately 60 minutes, not counting relaxed walk at beginning and end

Monday: Off

Tuesday:

Wednesday:

Thursday:

Friday:

Saturday:

Sunday:

After the eight weeks, he should be reasonably fit and level headed again and so we will start dressage work. I’ll focus on flatting with cavalletti and dressage from then until March or April, and then slowly reintroduce jumping and gridwork.

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Right now, Cass is a hairy beast with a muddy coat and a scraggly mane. With a rubbed out spot. He needs to be made pretty again. Operation mane pulling is happening tomorrow and I’m hoping to clip him soon. But first I need to find my blankets. I have NO idea where they went. I know they arrived on the trailer with Cass, but after that I can’t think of anywhere where I would have put them that I haven’t looked. And he’s fine without a blanket (hopefully…this is kind of a cold year, but it IS a desert still)…but only so long as he has hair. And he is one of those horses who looks super ugly and neglected with fuzz, so I kinda want it gone. Especially since he actually learned to grow hair this year (couldn’t he have done that last year in Misery? He hardly grew anything at all) and it gets longer and fluffier every time I see him.

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Show season here is about to start and there are a lot of really good riders at the barn right now- two olympic jumpers and several grand prix riders included. So, seeing them go every day, I have a lot to motivate me to advance quickly and not crawl along like I have been. Also, I have been offered a free lesson or two a week out of some of the trainers by riding with a friend in her lessons, so I’ll have to see how that goes. All are jumper focused though, so I might hold off for awhile until our flatting is completely right because every time I push Cass at the jumps before everything else is perfect, it doesn’t end well and he needs another mental break period. One of the trainers is at a different barn and I wouldn’t be riding Cass, so hopefully I will get some jumping in fairly soon though. It’s been nearly a year, and I completely sucked at the little cavaletti I popped over today (not on Cass though. He’s been on a very long holiday)

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