THOUGHTS FROM JO-ANN: Spring 2015
Appropriate Conditioning for Work Load: "The Slower You Go, The Faster You Get There."
There are very different living situations facing horses and riders nowadays. Some riders are forced to limit their horseís exercise and workload due to winter weather conditions. Other riders traveling to warmer climates to escape the winter conditions are faced with increasing the workload for their horse since they are in a warmer climate to compete. Competitions in the warmer climates range from daily to every weekend. Even though the living situations are different for those horses staying home for the winter versus those escaping to the warmth, both sets of horses are often faced with the same issue. The issue is whether they are properly strong enough to support the workload being asked of them.
For the horses staying in the winter climate, they are often faced with the strengthening issue as they transition into a heavier work load coming in to the warmth of spring. The horses traveling south are usually faced with an increase in workload on their arrival per the demand of the frequent increase in competitions and the lure of the warm weather.
The pressures are different for each situation, but the foundation is the same. It is very important to be sure the horse is properly strengthened to meet the demands of the work. Rushing into an increased work load does not support the well being of the horse. So, the slower one goes to properly strengthen the horse for the job at hand will get you to your goal faster. Without a slow and methodical strengthening program to meet the work load, the horse is at risk for injury, thus slowing the training and competition life down. (See Liz Millikinís Trainerís Tip).