Wow thanks. I would like to discuss shoeing theories for saddle seat horses. I understand about heel weight and toe weight with opening and closing motion but what about finding the right amount of weight so its not labory or just too much foot/weight? Other than angles and letting the farrier do his job what else would a SS trainer need to know about shoeing?
Also how in shape should a show horse be? How long should each session of a trained horse be so hes in show shape?
When you are training a show horse, you are essentially developing an athlete. You have to start from the basic training and move on from there for both length of training sessions and for shoeing. You need to start with your horse being riddin in a training session of ~20 minutes in duration at least three (3) times a week with the horse being turned out in a large pasture on the days in between and gradually moving up to being ridden five (5) times a week with daily pasture turnout.
I would start by increasing the length of my riding sessions by three to five minutes after each week. I carried a wrist watch/stop watch so that I could carefully watch the time. Be careful to increase the length of your riding sessions very slowly. I would only work my horses at full speed (fast trot & canter) for no more than 1/3 of the entire session in the beginning with the rest of the time being spent in doing circles, serpentines, and gait transitions at the slow trot, etc. My goal was to build up the stamina of my horses so that they could move at full speed for the entire length of a normal class which is about 30 to 40 minutes in duration and to have extra stamina in case they needed to go into several other classes. So at the very end of my training,, my horses were being ridden five (5) times a weeks during their sessions for up to one and one-half (1.5) hour in length. Too many trainers depend on keeping their horses in their stalls and just exercising them for the length of a class, but their horses are unable to adequately perform in several classes one after the other in a show.
Like any athlete, all horses must be carefully warmed up and then warmed down after their workouts to prevent any tying up or muscle pain. I have always devoted at least 1/3 of my entire riding time to doing this very important step. During your training sessions, you will be able to feel when your horse is beginning to become tired. If you see sweat appearing on the neck and your horse’s breathing starts to become labored, then dismount and feel the area between your horse’s stomach and hind leg. If there is a great deal of moisture in this area, then you need to start going slower to gradually cool your horse down. If you continue to push your horse beyond their endurance, then you risk injuring them. Anybody who tells you that stupid slogan "no pain, no gain" is an idiot. For your horses, you want to achieve some discomfort at most, but no pain. At the very end of your training, you should be spending at least 20 minutes gradually cooling your horse down. After unsaddling, cooling your horse's legs down with water and with liniments is also important.
I also advocate riding your horse out on trail. That will provide a welcome break in routine for your horse and you can use the time trotting on the way back to the stable to help free up your horse’s shoulder action. But, do always walk back the very last mile to the stables.
For shoeing during basic training, you need to start with your horse being shod with a horseshoe of average weight and normally trimmed hoof length. Afterwards, I would recommend that you first start with having your farrier leaving a longer toe & heal and adding a slightly heavier horseshoe (one ounce more) to your horse. I found that adding more toe pads and increasing heavily shoes (one ounce at a time & one pad at a time) at each six (6) weeks normal shoeing interval was the best course. I always rode very slowly & carefully for a full week after each shoeing to allow my horses enough time to become accustomed to their new longer & heavier feet. Between those shoeing periods, I would use action aids, such as chains and rollers, to train my horses to pick up their feet and to trot higher. By slowly adding weight and length to your horse's feet, you are going to be able to immediately tell when your horse reaches the exact combination of weight & length that will give the very best performance.
Also, check out the training books and videos at
< www.showstoppertack.com> and at
< www.ehorseequipment.com >.
Lorna G. Kirby, PE