1. Find the goal and the way
Each season should start with question „What I goal I want to achieve?” and with plan of starts that you will be realizing. This is the one of main rules of training: to have goals and to realize it. Spontaneity causes injuries.
While planning the nearest season you should know which competition is your priority (ex. Polish Nationals). The rest of them should be treated as training before this most important one. The average maximum number of starts per horse is about 5 (for distances 1* till 3*). Of course the number of starts depends on the distances planned, age and experience of your horse and should be verified during each season.
2. Train cyclically
Each training should be divided into hard work and relaxing periods. As well as in microcycles – ex. 1 day of hard work followed by 1 day of easier one and the mezocycles – ex. slow strenghtening work period followed by „refreshing” speed training and relax before and after competition. Cyclical training will let you prepare your horse to be in top condition for the competitions and will avoid the risk of injuries.
3. Legs, legs and legs again
The most frequent reason of endurance injuries is lameness. Not only the horses totally lame are eliminated from the competition but also those that walk irregularly. This is why the horses’s moving apparatus should be the apple in your eye. Every new or growing pain of your horse’s tendons, growing temperature or swelling should be a reason for lowering the work periods or quitting it at all. Every lameness should be a reason for giving up the further training and treatment. Lower moving abilities should also cause in lowering the training load. You should also conclude every injury or elimination.
4. Study your horses
All the common hours, kilometers, pain and tiredness – it’s endurance life. Endurance riding is a team sport together with your horse you form a team and need to know each other very well. You need to know your horse’s condition, how he expresses his needs, mood or general condition.
5. Separate speed from distance
Riding speed (tempo) and the ability to go the desired distance (lenght of the way to go) you can train separately. This is fundamental rule of training and understanding it is a key to soundness and effective work. Thanks to this rule you can train your horse safer and with achieve the desired effect – the optimal condition with less intensity of work.
6. Be aware of your abilities
You should be aware of the abilities of your horse and what tempo he is able to reach when taking part in a competition – due not to cause the negative effects in horse’s health. While training you should know what goal you want to reach and while competing you should know what you can achieve. Your emotions during the race may be a reason of injuries.
7. Trust in your horses
Human’s training is based largely on breaking the following time barriers, life records beating etc. Endurance, specified by vet gates gives a lot of freedom of action to the natural horse’s abilities. This is why you should have in mind the „superhuman” power of will strenght of your horses while training and competing. Your training can not suppress these attitudes.
8. Write down what you do
Write down what you do during training, how long you work in each walk, what is the tempo and blood pressure of the horse, mind the time of horse’s restitution. Thanks to the further analysis of your notes you can easily track every fail or success.
The precise notes are also the beginning for the next season’s training.
9. Power and exercises
Besides strenghtening exercises find some time for general condition and power training.
Dressage, longing, cavaletti or slow work on hilly ground – this are also parts of endurance training.
10. Training is not only a training
Good condition of a horse is not only caused by training but also by proper feeding, biological regeneration, well matched equipment and rider’s techniques. There are many parts of good result achieved and to be successful you should remember all the aspects of conditioning. Service, information about the other competitors positions, watering and well physical and psychical condition of the rider are very important while competing.