Trotting: A how-to

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Warm weather is finally here (or will soon be) and we're sure you're raring to get outside again. We've got a complete programme to help you build up your horse's stamina and endurance slowly but surely. It's perfect as you gear up for upcoming shows. But easy does it - we know you're excited, but heading out for an hour of trotting would be overdoing it. You'll need to spread out your training over several weeks to see results. It's just like when you decide to take up running again to shed those pesky pounds that crept on over the winter - you need a few weeks to get results. And for your training to be effective, you'll need to do it at least once or twice a week. 

 

Start off by asking yourself the right questions: 

  • Is your horse in good health?
  • Are his shoes properly maintained? 
  • Is he recovering from an injury? 

You'll need to think about these things to know if a trotting programme is appropriate for your horse and tweak your training if necessary. You should also consider your horse's weight and age: an overweight or older horse will take longer to show results. 

A good trotting programme should be based on timed segments. If you're looking for effectiveness, you'll need to time your rides. You'll alternate between walking, trotting and perhaps cantering, gradually extending the time you keep up each pace over several weeks. 

comment faire un bon trotting

 

You can start the following programme after at least a good 10-minute walking warm-up: 

  • Week 1: 5 minutes walking, 5 minutes trotting. Repeat three times. 30 minutes total. 
  • Week 2: 5 minutes walking, 7 minutes trotting. Repeat three times. 
  • Week 3: 5 minutes walking, 9 minutes trotting. Repeat three times. 
  • Week 4: 5 minutes walking, 10 minutes trotting. 

 

Walking does not mean letting your horse do whatever he wants. He should walk at a brisk pace, with strong movement in the hind legs. 

 

If, for example, you didn't work your horse much over the winter or you want to ease him into training, you can do the following programme, with at least three or four trotting sessions during the week. 

  • Week 1: 30-minute walk with 5 minutes trotting.
  • Week 2: 30-minute walk with 10 minutes trotting. 
  • Week 3: 40-minute walk with 15 minutes trotting. 
  • Week 4: 40-minute walk with 20 minutes trotting. and 5 minutes cantering.
  • Week 5: 40-minute walk with 20 minutes trotting. and 10 minutes cantering.

To make sure you're not asking too much of your horse, take his heart rate before and after the session. His heart rate should return to normal within 15 minutes after your session. If after 45 minutes his heart rate is still elevated, you're asking him to work much too hard. You'll need to ease up and take it a bit slower. 

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