Woohoo for schedules! When I first got Frankie I was a little lost- I get to ride whenever I want??? (Seriously Olivia what did you think happens when you own a horse). I’m a creature that craves structure, so I came up with the following: a tentative outline for our rides for the week, and a tentative outline for our hacks. There will likely never be a full week that we go with this schedule, and I doubt we will ever stick to my hour-long outline perfectly, but that’s ok! This is just to help guide me to make sure Frankie is getting worked consistently without being over-taxed, and we’re working on what we need to work on.
Sunday– Fun day. Trail ride, bareback, etc. Clean and condition tack
Monday– Hard hack, 1 hr. Check everything for wear and needed repairs
Tuesday– Day off
Wednesday– Lesson (jumping)
Thursday– Light hack (30 min) just to stretch legs OR fun day. Clean and condition tack.
Friday– Hard hack (1 hr)
Saturday– Medium hack (45 min). Tidy up trunk.
Summary: Frankie is in work 6 days a week, one of which is jumping and the rest with varying levels of intensity. I talked to my trainer about the frequency of riding and we agreed that he’s in fantastic shape (shout out to his eventing barn for doing conditioning sets with him!) and this type of schedule will work well to maintain muscle without over-stressing him. I’ll be taking any opportunity to get outside the ring for any of these days- we often use a big turnout to hack in, there are lots of trails nearby, etc. Once we start showing on the weekends he will get time off after each show to recover.
I wipe down my tack after every ride, but they get more thorough TLC 2x a week. My trunk is pretty neat and I intend to keep it that way, and especially now that blanket season is over it’s pretty quick to give my gear the once-over for any problems showing up.
And before I forget to mention- Frankie gets a minimum 30 minute (usually longer) grooming session every time I hop off. He’s just too pretty, I can’t resist!
60 minute flatwork
0-10: Walk on a loose rein all over the ring- circles, changing directions, get our muscles moving.
10-20: Trot on a loose rein. Lots of 2-point, no stirrups, serpentines and circles and changes of bend, slowly asking for more contact as we get moving.
20-30: Walk/trot/halt transitions on a contact with a little lateral work thrown in there. Lots of extensions/collections plus transitions between gaits.
30-40: Canter work, including lots of extensions/collections.
40-50: More dedicated lateral work. For now mainly at the walk and a little at the trot, but we’ll up the difficulty as we go.
50-55: Stretchy trot.
55-60: Walk, preferably outside the ring
45 minute flatwork
0-10: Walk on a loose rein
10-20: Walk/trot/halt transitions, slowly asking for more contact
20-30: Canter work
30-35: Lateral work, extensions/collections
35-40: Stretchy trot
Again, these are just frameworks! This is what’s working well for Frankie and me for where we are right now- tuning up our transitions within gaits and our lateral work. I’m trying to be very conscious of letting our warm-ups take plenty of time and building up the intensity slowly. Certain days we tweak it to spend extra time on one thing or another as necessary. Frankie is a very relaxed, confident horse and I want to do everything in my power to keep it that way. I don’t plan to be the person that makes him tense and anxious.
So there you have it. Frankie is working hard and loving it. We had a great hour long ride earlier this week and even though we were both sweating and tired by the end, he was still stepping out with his energetic walk and ready for more!
How do you plan your rides? Do you have a standing “framework” or do you make your plan based on where you are that day?