Ask any one, in any equestrian discipline, and get a different answer from all.
I’m looking at longevity, building muscle and stamina (In a gentle way for a coming 5-year old.), strengthening tendons, and providing enough weekly training for steady blood flow and stimulation in the hooves and legs.
I really don’t think there’s a clear-cut formula. Endurance, Eventing, and Race Horses often focus too hard on the muscle and stamina part. Glowing dressage stars focus too much on lengthy trot sessions in the arena. Self proclaimed experts have little write ups all over the Internet. Lame horses still line up in barns everywhere.
My biggest worry is doing too much with Valiosa, not too little. She’s got many years to develop. If I could, she’d be doing a lot of trail walking, but the opportunity is not there for it at this farm.
So, I make sure not to ride her 5 days per week, always providing one day of light work without the saddle. Most days, she barely breaks a sweat. Today, she did a few jumps on the lunge line and had the opportunity to canter on her own quite a bit.
Other times, she might have a solid lunge session with side reins. Sometimes just a super short time in the arena with just a halter and the lunge line like here –
Those days I just let her trot very easy, encouraging her to stretch down on her own.
But first – have to fly the kite a bit.
She lives out 24/7, and is generally lazy. Yes, seriously.
These are screen grabs from a short video of the trot. I’m saving it so that, hopefully, later when I look at it I can see how much better her trot has gotten. More swingy. Ground winning. All shashey. (Positive thinking here!)
She can look really nice just finding her own balance just like this.
Penny for your thoughts – if you don’t have access to huge summer pasture turnout, do you still rest your little budding dressage mount for weeks on end in the summer? Or go with a lighter 3 days/week schedule?