30 Days to Poplar Place: Gallop day!

How sad is it for a horse built to run to struggle to breathe? Every time I take Johnny out for a gallop, his heart is in it, but he sounds like a roaring freight train. He wants so badly to run, but there’s only so far he can go before he just tires out. We’re sticking with the Jimmy Wofford conditioning program, but I’ve had to modify it to meet Johnny’s abilities. Today’s workout: warm-up walk for 5 minutes, trot 5 minutes, gallop 4 minutes at 375 mpm, walk 4 minutes, gallop 3 minutes at 350 mpm, and a cool down walk for 15 minutes. I’m so lucky to have excellent footing and wide open terrain at the airfield. The roads are firmly packed sand/clay: enough give so I don’t wear out his legs, but not so soft to worry about straining tendons. Even in the areas where there is standing water, it’s still perfect footing.
After today’s workout, I can see we’re going to need to incorporate more gallop days into our training. I don’t think our upcoming Novice level horse trial is going to present a major issue, but for moving up to Training level, he’s really going to have to strengthen his lungs. The surgery is definitely inevitable if we want to keep competing, but I have no idea how I’m going to raise the funds!
Tomorrow will definitely be a well-earned day off for Johnny. Well, sort of. It’s past time for me to clip off his shaggy winter coat. Visions of a sleek, well-muscled thoroughbred float through my head, but I’m not so naive to realize he might end up looking more like a corduroy-coated winter pony!


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