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Specialk

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How far have you driven your mini in a single drive?

At a slow trot, how long is reasonable to ask your mini to keep that gait?
 

Specialk

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Certainly the horse should be conditioned. Just curious what an average distance must people drive their mini.
 

paintponylvr

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Since I never was conditioning for any kind of time or length, I didn't really track it. I did however, notice that when I was really working our pair (the 1st one), that we had a 2.3 mile loop. With walking, trotting and canter/galloping all included in our go around that "circle" - we started out doing it in a little over an hour. The last time I actually "timed it" - we did the loop in a little over 30 minutes. I did find that weather, on any given day, made a difference! Not just heat but the humidity here really caused it to go much longer.

On the really humid & hot days, I needed to monitor their condition because they would often trot - throwing their heads and asking to "go on" - even when they were huffing and puffing. If I let them go too long at a trot, when we'd stop for rest and air - they took for ever sucking in large draughts of air, w/o even seeming to recover. Also, I found that a switch in a vehicle (even airing up the tires) could make a difference in how much they could do and on trails that were used a lot by riding horses, sometimes different areas were more "torn up" than usual, creating a deeper surface. That can really change how fast and how long they can pull, too, at different speeds.

I think the longest trail drive I did with one of our pairs was about 5-6 hours and it was too long for that pair at that time. They were VERY tired for a couple of days after the drive. Even I was worn out - I simply wasn't ready for or prepared for a continuous drive. Up to that point, we'd always taken them to Plow Days that had driving trails and we'd spend a couple of hours out there, come back for lunch and usually took a different pair out after that for another drive.
 

jeanniecogan

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i agree with Paula, i drive single.. and the same rules apply. my average ride at home is 2 miles, just about an hour if walking. when we go camping it''''s more like 3-4 miles.but mostly we just mosey. i have had a lot of physical problerms the last couple years so Charlie never gets to the condition i would like.
 

Squeaks

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We generally drive for about 30-45 minutes depending on the humidity, but our guys have had maybe a month (3x a week) worth of work under their harness. A lot of times the humidity sucks the breath right out of you.

Trail ride wise we ended up going for almost an hour and a little over 2 miles, which was too much for everyone. We ultimately got out and walked whenever a substantial incline/decline started. The horses didn't offer any "reluctance" but the heat made it hard on us and I'm incredibly sensitive about their comfort.

Yesterday Sierra was supposed to have a day off and I was bringing her along so I could work on Savannah. Sierra got hooked up and what should have been 10 minutes of driving... Turned into almost an hour toting my Dad a couple rounds. (Predominately asphalt at a walk, so easier to pull and he's maybe 130lbs?) Then my nephew wanted a ride and then the niece... So poor girl ended up going MUCH longer than I had anticipated for her. She was a real champ though. Got today off and probably tomorrow if all bodes will with Savannah.

I'd like to say horses generally speak for themselves when they're worn out, but then I get Sierra who would probably truck all day and "ask" to trot when she's tired ;)
 

Marsha Cassada

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I generally do a two mile loop. Usually at a good trot the whole time. There is an uphill section on one part of the loop and sometimes I ask my horse to walk up it; I was told a forward walk up a hill is better exercise than a trot. My older horse doesn't go out as often now and I think the 2 miles is his limit for now. My new horse has built up his stamina considerably and could easily go farther now.

When I go to town to drive, or give rides during events, I know they go much farther than that, but not trotting all the time, of course.

I think our driving distance is limited by MY stamina, not theirs.
 

dalvers63

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The track at my barn is 500 meters (3/10th of a mile) with a slight rise. When we started out we'd only go for a mile or so, mostly trotting and walking with some rests in between.

After a few months of work and Mikey being in condition he did 10.5K (just over 6.5 miles) in two parts over the weekend. Now, we did take our time for a few reasons (heat, first time, not sure of his condition) in the first section which was 3.66K plus another kilometer at a walk. Once the vet checked him and I saw that he was in no distress at all the next 5.78K I pushed him a bit more. He still came into the vet at the end just fine.

Our usual days at the barn involve about 5K (10 times around the track) of trotting/walking along with some practice in circles and backing/turning for our dressage tests.
 

Peggy Porter

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The CDEs I have done are about 5-6k, done at a 9kph trot. So roughly about half hour trotting. Usually a few hills, mostly on grass, sometimes road. Neither of my boys had any problems, never held at vet check, never too tired. I always make sure they are properly conditioned.

When I trail drive with friends, we are usually out about 1 1/2 hours, stop for a lunch break, then another hour or so. We do some trotting, and lots of walking because we are doing lots of talking!

And then there's the National Drive, where we can be out several hours each time, twice a day, for several days in a row. I always am aware of how my horse is behaving. If he seems too tired, I turn back or skip a time. It's our vacation, so we want to head home tired!
 

MajorClementine

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We typically do 3-5 miles. Our weather is fairly mild and not very humid. We drive on roads mostly but we do uphills and down as well. Our longest was 10 miles that we did with my dad and his fox trotter. Clementine was out front and set the pace and that trotter had to keep up his fast fox trot to keep up with her. She loves to get out and move. She usually only breaks a light sweat and has never been huffing and puffing. Sometimes, if she's feeling really spry it takes her 2 miles or so to really settle in.

I've never tracked our average speed but I think I will next time.
 

countrygirl27

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The CDEs I have done are about 5-6k, done at a 9kph trot. So roughly about half hour trotting. Usually a few hills, mostly on grass, sometimes road. Neither of my boys had any problems, never held at vet check, never too tired. I always make sure they are properly conditioned.

When I trail drive with friends, we are usually out about 1 1/2 hours, stop for a lunch break, then another hour or so. We do some trotting, and lots of walking because we are doing lots of talking!

And then there's the National Drive, where we can be out several hours each time, twice a day, for several days in a row. I always am aware of how my horse is behaving. If he seems too tired, I turn back or skip a time. It's our vacation, so we want to head home tired!
can you please tell me how you conditioned your horse for driving?
 

Marsha Cassada

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Conditioning for driving--you start out with short drives, maybe a mile. Lots of walking. Some hills are good. On the loop i use i can do uphill if i choose. Watch your horse to see if he tires. So much depends on how much weight in the cart, his own weight, his age, your own stamina. You just have to begin, and work up to the time and distance which is your goal. There isn't any magic way, that I know of, to condition a driving horse. I do pony behind the golf cart sometimes.
 

countrygirl27

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Thank you for replying to my question. When i drive my mini horse i watch out to see her sides to see if she is breathing hard. I then have her stop and rest
 

MindySchroder

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I love distance driving with my pony! I am part of a big horse driving club and our weekend drives are known to be between 12-15 miles long, back to back. My pony keeps up easily. We often do 15 miles one day and then 15 miles the next over varying and difficult terrain. We trot, canter and walk on these long drives. Sometimes we trot A LOT.

At home our drives range from quick and easy 2 mile drives up to longer and more difficult (because of the terrain, lots of long steep climbs) 5 miles. I take my pony up into the mountains quite a bit and we try to do no less than 5-8 miles at a time.

Conditioning is definitely key when you are looking at the longer drives. Pushing them to sweat and breathe hard is how you condition. If they never have to sweat or huff and puff they won't ever get into condition.

I condition by tracking my mileage. A mile or two is considered a very easy drive. We should be able to complete that in about 30 minutes or so. 5 miles can take about an hour and a half to two hours depending on how much climbing we do. If I have to get out and walk behind the bike it will take longer. Oh how I wish I were a runner! LOL! My pony could do a flat, easy 5 mile drive in under an hour when he is in top condition.

People are always surprised by the endurance that our minis and ponies have. When we joined our driving club they were all worried that we couldn't keep up. They quickly quit worrying about that and started to worry about keeping up with us! If we are in front we are miles ahead of them. So we try to stay at the back of the pack. Even if we mess around and get a mile or two behind a bit of trotting and we are caught back up with the group.

Here is a blog post I wrote a few years ago that said how I prepared my mare for her first group drive. We didn't go the entire drive that time but did work up to much longer drives that summer!
Fitting a Driving Horse

Now I do longer drives all the time. My young gelding, Sky's son Zorro, is very calm and so I don't have to do calming exercises with him at all. We just head out and track our miles!

Here is a little post about trail driving:
Trail Driving

I suggest having an app on your phone that allows you to track time and miles and then getting out there to see what you and your mini can do!
 

Gayla

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Last year, I started out doing 1 mile and slowly worked up while getting him conditioned. We ended up logging over 250 miles total for the year and were up to 8 to 10 miles a day in about 3 to 4 hour trips. He never even had sweat anywhere but under the saddle pad. You get them in good condition and they can do a lot more than you think they can. My mini is 34" tall and I weigh 285. Don't underestimate them. They may be small but they are still horses and have great stamina. 20191010_091526.jpg
 

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