That's when Consolation's 2010 endurance conditioning program officially begins. In preparation, I'm spending this week dusting a few cobwebs off her well-rested brain...not to mention her well-rested body.
We went for another walk today. This time, I mostly ground drove her instead of merely leading. I find that long ground drives are an excellent tool for building a horse's confidence in leading the way while taking direction from behind.
Mentally, she proved to be in pretty good shape. Physically? Well, let's just say that we took a four mile loop featuring a steep, half-mile hill, where I made the amusing discovery that I am in considerably better shape than my endurance horse.
A little huffing and puffing is to be expected, however, after four months of rest. Respiratory conditioning is the first to come when a horse begins training, and the first to go when she takes a holiday. Even though last year's endurance season was short for us -- only 3 LD's and 1 55-mile race -- I'm confident that Consolation's fitness will make a steady comeback.
Let's hope that I can do as well. Earlier this week, I managed to aggrivate my hamstring injury (yes, that hamstring injury) enough that I was glad to be walking today instead of riding. It had better get back into shape by Monday!
Speaking of getting in shape, several of you have written to ask what happened to the fitness portion of my Fit to Ride series from last summer. Ummm...I might have gotten distracted and failed to write it. (Sorry!) The good news is that I'm now writing about fitness and nutrition (my views on which have changed somewhat since I wrote the series here, partly as a result of my research for that series) over at my companion blog, Nightlife. For those who are interested, I'm only a couple posts into a Primal Fitness series reviewing what I've learned over the past year. Feel free to click over and say hello.