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View Full Version : How much trotting on roads/hardish ground can a horse do safely?



mystiandsunny
07-07-08, 02:13 PM
I know the ideal answer is 'none' but not in a position to go with that so just trying to minimise problems!

Scenario: Horse doing 26 miles, four days a week. Now we could walk all of that, but it would take FOREVER and I do need to sleep, eat and go to work each day! The number of bridlepaths are limited, although we do use every single one we can. Horse is unshod, wearing Boa boots with vetwrap around the pastern then gaiters over that to prevent rubbing - so there is less concussion than there is with metal shoes. Any trotting done will be slow and gentle, mostly up hills with a little on the flat.

Now I know that driving ponies trot quite a bit, so it must be possible to do some of the roadwork in trot - but how much?

Ideally, to save me time, I'll replace the 13 mile cycle to work with riding - livery yard right next door to workplace so I could leave horse there during the day. Then when we come to increase the distance we can just take a longer route home.

Own trailer in sight so endurance here we come!

Ezme
07-07-08, 02:16 PM
Our horses do 95% of their work on normal and gravel roads. Their legs are fine. We spend longer with the babies toughening them up but thats it. Once their warmed up the grown up spend most of thier timein work trotting. Magnus even used to canter on hard ground for 50yards on every carriage rides for 10 years and he's fine.

mystiandsunny
07-07-08, 02:24 PM
So if we built up to it gently, we could trot, say half to 2/3 of that without problems?

hellybelly6
07-07-08, 02:33 PM
I have had a couple of vets say to me that trotting on roads is not good for horses joints.

Its not something I would do.

somethingorother
07-07-08, 02:37 PM
would the type of horse and amount of bone make a difference? do finer breeds not splint etc more easily on hard ground than heavier types?

Madasmaz
07-07-08, 02:37 PM
Just keep an eye out for heat and puffiness. Might be an idea to have some sort of coolant at both ends of the journey so you can go check for heat in your tea. Something like neo-ice. As you are using boa boots you shouldn't have to worry about bruised soles. Although I am curious, do their feet sweat in them?

1275gta
07-07-08, 02:38 PM
Our old boy is in his late 20's and was broken at 3, he does mainly driving and mostly at trot and he is fine. All our others do a lot of trot work and we have never had an issue with there legs.

mystiandsunny
07-07-08, 02:47 PM
Feet do sweat if it's hot but it doesn't seem to cause a problem. http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif

Thanks everyone, will time our gentle, on-the-bit trot that I feel happy doing on the road, and then work out how long it will all take!

Really good to know that horses do trot and are fine as the general perception in the riding world is that if you trot at all your horse will get arthritis very soon and its legs will be knackered! Will work up to it nice and gently as part of the whole fittening thing and all should be ready to ride to work by September I hope - should be fun!

stencilface
07-07-08, 03:27 PM
Work on hard surfaces can be good for horses legs as it hardens them up. Too much work on a school surface can lead to the tendons becoming 'soft'. Most of the work we do is hacking on the roads/bridleways and (fingers crossed!) in 15 years they have never been sick or sorry due to wokr on roads. We don't batter them on the roads - just steady walk/trot work.

By the way, how are the Boa boots - I am interested in getting a pair, although all I have heard is negative? http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif

lachlanandmarcus
07-07-08, 03:36 PM
I use Boa boots on my unshod Haflinger and the only time they rub a bit on the underside of the tightening dial is when Ive done a lot of streams followed by gritty mud, apart from then theyve been great for 18 mths of use to date...

paulineh
07-07-08, 03:56 PM
My Arabs (Endurance horses) train on hard Forestry tracks and I have never had a problem with trotting for a long time,their legs are hard.

I cold hose the legs down and then apply a cooling gel. They do not have splints or windgalls either.

Some trotting is good for the legs it helps to lay down calcium. http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif

mystiandsunny
07-07-08, 04:07 PM
I like the Boas - but I did choose them because they were the best fit of the ones made by Easycare for the shape of my horse's hooves. If it had been another type I'd have bought those. My horse twists her back hooves slightly when she walks so they do rub a bit there if not carefully bandaged up but the front ones have never rubbed. Near trimming time I have to pull them off with some force even after loosening the dial! Dial covers useless though - popped off on first hack!

Have had Old Mac boots before and they worked well, if you wear them in they don't rub at all. Only gave up using them because after my horse got lami her hoof shape changed. When it's all grown out properly we'll probably end up with something different again.

Most important thing with hoof boots, as with human shoes, is fit. If the boots are the wrong shape for the hoof they will come off, rub or twist.

Ezme
07-07-08, 04:12 PM
[ QUOTE ]

Thanks everyone, will time our gentle, on-the-bit trot that I feel happy doing on the road, and then work out how long it will all take!

Really good to know that horses do trot and are fine as the general perception in the riding world is that if you trot at all your horse will get arthritis very soon and its legs will be knackered! Will work up to it nice and gently as part of the whole fittening thing and all should be ready to ride to work by September I hope - should be fun!

[/ QUOTE ]

Just build it up, as you know neds are sensitive creatures and changes can do things to them

Storminateacup
07-07-08, 05:21 PM
I worry about trotting on the roads too. We travel long distances and Jack seems to love fast trotting on the roads. He has been doing it for about 8 months now and he is fine. My hacking pal has been trotting her horses for years hard on the roads and they are both really sound horses.
Maybe its the school work or circle work that does more damage. Certainly Jack has no windgalls but he does also have 10.5 inches of bone and is a heavyweight driving horse really.
Worse thing is kicking out his shoes so fast - perhaps Boa boots would be a better idea if I can find them in his size.

MagicMelon
07-07-08, 05:26 PM
[ QUOTE ]
I have had a couple of vets say to me that trotting on roads is not good for horses joints.

Its not something I would do.

[/ QUOTE ]

Not something I'd do either.

hussar
07-07-08, 06:17 PM
My older endurance Arab was pretty much retired in 2004 aged 14 with navicular, due in large part (according to the vets) to trotting on roads coupled with less than ideal conformation (short upright pasterns). For 6 years I did a lot of training on roads and of course in competition too, so felt very guilty. By the time he retired he had 3000kms on his mastercard.

I was determined that I wouldn't make the same mistake with my youngster who started endurance aged 6. We do a fair bit of roadwork but it's all walk. My farrier is delighted and says he wishes more owners would realise the damage they can do to horses' joints on hard surfaces. Having said that, he is off with a damaged tendon at the moment but that was a mis-step in a rockhard wheel-rut.

stencilface
07-07-08, 09:41 PM
Thanks for the feedback. I have been thinking about getting a pair for a semi-retired companion for occasional hacking. It isn't cost effective to shoe him and his hind feet are fine but he can get sore on his front if we hack him sometimes. Just thought they might be worth the investment. http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif

mystiandsunny
08-07-08, 12:02 AM
Just a thought - how many of the horses that are damaged are so because they were ridden relatively hard when still not fully grown? Many adult humans run miles on the roads, training for marathons etc, but we strongly restrict the distances children/teenagers are allowed to race. Many (usually amateur) jumping horses/ponies also get arthritis young, at 12 yrs+ when they should be in their prime.

There are also many other contributory factors - insufficient warming up/cooling down, poor riding (horse pulling itself along on the front end with all the concussion ending up on two legs not four), insufficient fitness, poor fitness programmes (too much too soon), and a perception of trot being a good spanking pace where the hooves slam down upon the ground - especially for endurance, where speed is needed.

Those on here with horses who trot without ill effect obviously have a lot of knowledge the rest of us would to well to learn from. I'm game! http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif

hellybelly6
08-07-08, 09:10 AM
Humans who road run have on shock absorbing trainers!!
My uncle used to road run and despite having shock absorbing trainers had both hips replaced by the time he was 45.

The horses most at risk from road concusion and concusion laminitis and arthritis are the heavier types, but all horses are at risk heavy or not.