“As we have found over the past few years, evening is pretty complex to code for. The full methodology behind the evening ELO is complicated, but to summarize, horses enter the system with 1500 points.
“You don’t lose all your points in one go, but the changes occur gradually as you compete more,” explains Diamond. Winning some four-star shorts might entail beating a handful of first-timers, while winning Aachen, the same level of competition on paper, is likely to mean that a horse has beaten five-star winners and world medalists.
Let us know by emailing email@example.com for the chance to be featured on the magazine’s letters page and you might win a bottle of Champagne Tainting. The Anglo-Arabian combines attractive traits from both the Arabian (refinement and stamina) and Thoroughbreds (size and speed) bloodlines.
The Belgian Warm blood is a rather new breed whose bloodlines have been carefully orchestrated to produce a superior evening and show horse which is both intelligent and fearless. Another breed descendant from mounts of war, the Hanoverian blood comes from the tough horses of the Middle Ages.
Note the similarities in their confirmation and which breeds are versatile enough to cross competition lines and work well in dressage and stadium jumping as well. You may be drawn to evening at least in part because its upper-level horses are among the world's most beautiful and accomplished equine athletes.
However, remind yourself that the horses who compete at Rolex and Badminton are not the type you should be riding now, even if you can afford one. Your first evening horse doesn't need an extended trot that will score a 10 in dressage; he doesn't need to be able to gallop forever.
He crossties, stands politely for the vet and farrier, loads easily, and tacks up without problems. Any horse that is unpredictable to work around in his stall, or that kicks or rears, is totally unacceptable for you.
Under saddle, your horse needs to have reasonable aptitude for the three different sports that make evening such a unique challenge. I want him to track up?that is, his hind foot should step ahead of the footprint of the forefoot on the same side?and I want to hear a steady, rhythmic 1-2-3-4 with no obvious irregularities.
When you watch the horse being ridden, his knee action shouldn't bring a sewing machine to mind. When you ride him, he should be willing to maintain the trot (that is, without breaking back to walk) in response to a minimal amount of pressure from your lower leg and heel.
In addition to three good gaits, if your horse takes both leads, steers well (turning easily in both directions), accepts the bit well, and maintains a consistent head and neck position with the front of his face just ahead of the vertical, he has the basic ingredients you need for the entry-level dressage tests. Cross-country: Among the joys of evening is that one of its phases takes place in the countryside, not in an enclosed ring.
If you're trying out an event prospect for purchase, be sure to arrange to take him out for a trot and canter along trails through the woods, around open fields, across rolling terrain, and (if possible) through shallow water. As an athlete, the horse doesn't need to be able to achieve racehorse fitness; he does need to be able (with proper conditioning) to slow-canter twice the distance he'll cover cross-country with a short rest in the middle.
A horse that jumps with his knees lower than his elbows is not a good prospect because this form is unsafe. Another grave fault: If he jumps with one leg up and one hanging, it's a sign that he loses his balance off the ground, making him unsafe for anyone to ride over fences.
If you already have a horse with which you'd like to try evening, and if he has comfortable gaits and is a safe jumper, you'll probably be able to get started in the sport with him. A young racetrack reject is not a suitable candidate; if you're just learning the sport, don't take on a green horse as a project.
Muzzy is a bold and forward thinking pony who absolutely loves… Elements (pronounced L-M-N-O) dark bay gelding (barn name is “Squeaker”).
Squeaker is a 2-year-old registered, branded German Riding Pony. ISO beginner-safe lesson pony for a well-established English-riding lesson program in Maryland.
In short, conditioning develops the musculoskeletal, neurologic, and cardiovascular systems, so they can perform athletic endeavors with the greatest efficiency and the least stress on the body. While there is no magic recipe fit for all equestrian sports, the basic principles of conditioning remain the same across the board.
To get fit for competition, your horse needs to be “legged up,” which entails preparing the musculoskeletal system to withstand a certain amount of impact, speed, and duration of work. Higher intensity exercise, such as sprints, gallops, difficult hill climbs, or jumping efforts, requires rapid muscle metabolism that taps into other energy sources in the absence of oxygen.
To reach a training effect that taps into anaerobic fuel sources, the horse’s heart rate must exceed 165 bpm for at least two minutes. As a horse develops a more robust respiratory and cardiovascular system and stronger muscles, soft tissues, and bone, he’ll probably seem more confident and eager to perform his work.
Efforts that once raised his heart rate dramatically and caused him to breathe hard and sweat a lot will come more easily. For this reason, endurance riders use onboard heart rate monitors to track their horses’ work output and evaluate how they’re handling exercise demands, allowing them to maximize their training effort.
A safe approach involves asking a horse for incremental increases in distance or difficulty every five days. Owners should monitor their horses for signs of stress during this process, including limb swelling or soreness, a lapse in appetite, or a change in attitude.
Hill work for horses is similar to weight-lifting, which has been shown to reduce the risk of musculoskeletal injuries in people by more than 50%. Muscles push against greater resistance as a horse moves his mass (plus the rider’s weight and tack) up a hill.
After at least five or six months or a solid first season of LSD conditioning and strength training, many riders add IT to their repertoire. Another way you can determine whether an endurance horse is “fit to continue” is by measuring his cardiac recovery index (Cry).
Throughout the conditioning and competition process, assess all these parameters, as well as soundness, so you can detect and deal with any subtle problems immediately. The event horse is unique in that it must possess the finesse to complete gymnastic moves in dressage tests, the endurance and skill to perform long-distance gallops over cross-country obstacles, and the dexterity to negotiate show jumps in an arena.
“The resurgence of using off-track Thoroughbreds means that some of these horses come into the evening world with a strong fitness base, but LSD work helps them to mentally relax.” Once a horse develops a strong LSD foundation, then you can incorporate interval training a couple of times a week.
Novice horses compete on courses at 350-400 MPM (~13-15 mph) and condition at slightly slower speeds. She suggests doing gymnastics (important for developing technique, ability, and foot placement, as well as confidence for both horse and rider) one day and focusing the second jump day each week on riding a course, including teaching the horse about adjustability (ability to alter the number of strides between obstacles).
“Even with flat work, it helps to incorporate ground rails and Canaletto to improve a horse’s coordination, rhythm, and agility,” she adds. Contains emphasizes the importance of exposing a horse to ditches, banks, and water obstacles to build confidence and instill safety.
Contains stresses the benefits of incorporating hill work into an event horse’s conditioning program. Strength training riding up inclines improves fitness without the speed or musculoskeletal impact of flat gallops.
Contains recommends using a zigzag pattern to minimize stress on joints and soft tissues when going down hills. She also recommends measuring respiratory rate periodically during training, particularly with heavier horses and those with breathing conditions.
Racehorses run flat out at speed, with aerobic and anaerobic metabolism driving muscle power. Blew, who is a racetrack practitioner in Southern California, says that depending on racehorses’ level of preparedness, they might jog for the first several weeks of training.
Once ready to advance, the horse begins to gallop over longer distances, which helps to remodel their maturing skeleton and build stamina in muscle groups and lungs. “The horse steadily progresses to ¼-mile breezes with increases of 18 mile, determined by their fitness, soundness, and mental capabilities,” he continues.
Riders ask racehorses to breeze at 75-80% speed to achieve or maintain respiratory and musculoskeletal fitness without overburdening these organ systems. Blew notes that running 18 mile in 12 seconds is a good general rule, depending on the trainer and his or her intentions for the horse.
Blew continues: “There are many chefs who can potentially create the same appetizing meal using different methods, and this applies to racehorse training. Each horse is an individual, not only mentally and physically but also based on pedigree, all of which need to be considered when beginning their training career.
As the horse graduates to a larger round pen, he’ll also get ridden out on acreage at the walk, trot, and canter/lope. In this next phase, the trainer steps up the effort, often using cattle, so the horse learns to move, stop, and turn with the cow.
Black says trainers don’t ask for much hard work in the 2-year-old year; the objective at this stage is to build bone density, aerobic capacity, and musculoskeletal development. Knowledgeable trainers request radiographs during a prepurchase exam or within the first three months of training to establish a baseline on skeletal structures and to identify the presence (or absence) of developmental orthopedic disease.
They also assess body condition regularly and might have their veterinarian monitor the horse’s progress during the first 1½- to 2-year training period using ultrasound. As a Western performance horse ages, he requires less monitoring because his musculoskeletal system matures to the level of work.
Many timed events, such as team roping, take less than 10 seconds, so this aerobic fitness is vital to success. Developing a prospect is a lengthy project, often requiring years to reach the horse’s performance peak.
Learn how different organ systems respond to training as well as the demands of your desired discipline. Taking the time to build a structural foundation will pay dividends in a horse’s future performance.
In all these efforts, working with a veterinarian knowledgeable about your sport is instrumental to keeping a horse healthy, sound, and fit.