How often should you ride your horses?

Discussion in 'Horse Training' started by jklranch, Apr 27, 2012.

  1. jklranch

    jklranch Senior Member

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    If I could ride everyday I would but I'm curious how often you should ride to get them in shape and have them be well rounded/trained? In the winter with our weather and as dark as it gets I don't have time during the week so riding them in the winter would be sporatic unless I find a friend with an indoor arena. Even then I would probaby only be able to make that happen 2-3 times a week??? In the summer I get home early enough so can ride during the week after work for an hour or two. Should I be working with the horses everyday even if it's only ground work for say 30-45 mins. at the minimum? As a side note I'm just a for fun rider I don't do shows or anything. We just toot around on local trails and take them to the beach every so often.

    Here are a few photos from 6 months ago when we first got these horses... they are fat and very dirty :) I've since bathed them and they are very pretty under all that dirt ;)

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    Sara - Belgian/Morgan Mix... We think she is probably 8 years old?
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    Maggie - Paint/Mustang mix... about 6 years old and very out of shape :(

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    This is our 1 year old appy filly.... She has been filling out really well since we adopted her.
     






  2. MysticRealm

    MysticRealm Senior Member+

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    I ride minimum of 5 days a week, but prefer 6 days a week. My horse though needs to be in top shape as we compete at a pretty high level (4'+ Jumpers at A shows). Not sure how much you need for a lower level or trail horse or what have you, but in general the fitter they are the better for future soundness however some horses might be too 'up' for some riders if at a high level of fitness.
     
  3. BayMare1

    BayMare1 Senior Member+

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    3 days is better then nothing, just pace your horse so he doesn't get sore. My horse is ridden preferably 6 days a week, minimum 4, but I am in a training program. I made a promise to my horses (either rode someone elses' or now my own) that I wouldn't do dressage on a horse I couldn't ride at least 3 days a week. It just made them sore and it was not consistent enough.

    My suggestion is start with lots of walking in a low key situation like trail riding. You can always follow the advice of vets that deal with suspensory injuries--its a good plan to follow. (ie-walk X mins first week, then add in 5 mins of trotting each week for X weeks, etc).

    Also, to be easy on the joints/ligaments: lots of straight lines and not a lot of longing or circles :)
     
  4. DancingArabian

    DancingArabian Senior Member+

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    Depends on the horse and what you're trying to keep them in shape for. Additionally, some horses do just fine with little work, and some horses get unruly with little work, and some horses actually like work. My horse is happiest with more work. Even on days I don't ride, I make sure to do lots of groundwork, lungeing and a roundpen session to get his heartrate up and get him moving.
     
  5. DunsNPallys

    DunsNPallys Senior Member+

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    I think how often you should ride to keep them in shape REALLY depends on what you do, and how lightly/serious you do it.

    For me, it has varied depending on even what I was doing. When I was competing seriously in barrel racing, I rode each horse 1-3 hours a day, 6-7 days a week. When I stopped competing seriously, I rode 5-6 days a week 1-2 hours a day (unless trail riding - those could go up to 5 hours). I was also competing a ton, and that took up a lot of that too. When I switched to other sports - I still always maintained riding 5-7 days a week, for 1-2 hours each time; that included reining, cutting, team sorting, jumping, dressage, trail riding, and giving lessons.

    Things changed when I worked at the race track - the more my horses worked, the more money we made. Then my horses worked 2-4 hours a day, 5 days a week. It was almost always close to nonstop jogging, loping, and galloping so it was extremely tough work. They had to do it to stay in shape; I noticed that even only 2 days off made a difference.

    These days, I train horses (mostly on cattle ranches) for cattle work, barrels, low level english stuff, and trail riding. The amount of time they get worked depends on their stage in training and each horse. Usually 30 mins - 90 mins, 4-6 times a week. My own PERSONAL horses vary. My stallion is injured, so he's on turn out, but when he's healed (and worked back up to a proper level), I expect to ride him 1 hour a day, 4 times a week to keep him in competition shape (he is a 1D barrel horse, but is solid, patterned, and doesn't need much work). My QH gelding is a trail horse, lesson horse, and pet. I ride him about 45 mins a day, 3x a week. It keeps him in shape for what he does. Sometimes he does little gymkhanas and whatnot. My TB gelding is currently regaining weight after a bad situation, but before I was riding him 1 hour a day, 4 times a week. He was used for just about everything (low levels of everything).

    Ideally I would like to ride each of my own personal horses about 1 hour a day, 4 times a week. I think that's perfect for most horses, no matter what they do. You can up it for serious competition and take it down for pleasure horses. In MY opinion, 45 minutes a day 3x a week is the very, very minimum to keep a horse in shape for anything basic.
     
  6. Samarama

    Samarama Senior Member+

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    My horse works BEST on an absolute minimum four days a week, minimum 45min a ride. But he is at his best best when ridden 5/6 days. Anything less and he is a nutter.

    But I know horses that can be ridden once a week and be totally fine. Are they in the best shape? Probably not..but it all depends on what you do with your horse!
     
  7. LifeIsGrand

    LifeIsGrand Senior Member+

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    My pony is coming 4 and has been getting ridden 3-4 times a week and he does just fine on that. He is the type where you can let sit, and then go back to and they will be fine!
    I have a feeling my horse will be one that I have to ride 4-6 times a week.
     
  8. MIEventer

    MIEventer Senior Member+

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    As others have said, it depends on the horse, and the situation. Myself, I have a fellow who loves to work, and being Eventers, we need to be in the best shape we both possibly can be. I ride 4-5 days a week, our rides go for about an hour, sometimes longer pending day and how he is feeling.
     
  9. tobylover

    tobylover Senior Member

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    During the winter months I'm lucky if I can ride Toby 4x a week, but in the summer it's always 6x a week.
     
  10. MoonlightsWildPassion

    MoonlightsWildPassion Senior Member

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    I do roundpen/ground work 6 days a week minimum 45 minutes. He works best off that. He gets a day off for turnout and bathing. Although he gets hosed off after every workout.

    When I was competing it was 5 days training. 1 days competing and Mondays off.
     






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