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Tales of Taco the Wonder Horse and his ammy rider on their way to a Training Three Day

Friday, February 4, 2011

Ask Taco: Getting Oneself Fit

Q. Dear Taco-
I've been in event horse training now for about three months and I have heard that I will be entering in the N3D and T3Ds in the future.
From what I understand the long format takes quite a bit of strength and endurance. I'm feeling a little over whelmed and fear that I might not be fit enough. What do you do to prepare yourself for the A,B,C, and D portions on XC day? How many hugs and cookies do you think I could earn if I do very well in such an event?

I've been told there is a strong possibility I will get to see you in Sept. Fingers Crossed!!
from, Toby the Cow Pony
A. Dear Toby the Cow Pony,
Yes, you are correct that the long format takes strength and endurance.  But there are two consolations in this, my friend.  First  of all, you are a cow pony for goodness's sake, and you were bred for those long days. Endurance Day at a classic format event is nothing compared to long days riding the range as your family has done for generations.  
Have your rider read this book.
Second, once you go through a conditioning program, such as the one in this post from last August, you will be so strong and fit that all of the other work your rider asks you to do will seem easy.  You'll be able to trot Roads and Tracks all day!  And you will have done the speed work to make Steeplechase a breeze (that's a horse racing term, which you might not know because you are a cow pony).

I hope that the above reassurances put your mind at ease.  But if you are still concerned, there is something you can do.  I have my very own exercise routine, TacoCize (TM)*, that I do in my pasture, when I'm feeling like I need to work out.  My pasture is about 6 or 7 acres, and it is longer than it is wide.  I'll do sprint sets several times back and forth.  I just start at one end, cover the length of it, and start back again.  Lather, rinse, repeat.  I get an extra cardiovascular workout by shouting to my neighbors as I run (this has the added benefit of getting their attention).  Sometimes I'm getting ready to TacoCize right when Stacy arrives and wants to bring me in, but she understands when I go ahead and do it anyway.  She acts mad but I know she's just kidding.
You can see me in the middle of this picture with my pasture stretching out behind me.
So don't worry about all the hard work, and you can always add in the workout I described if you wish.  I know you will be a great Event Pony!  I look forward to seeing you this fall.

Best wishes,
P.S.  If you do well in one of those events, or even just try a little, the hugs and cookies are unlimited.  Really!

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