What does cross-training mean to you?

Thought this would be a fun topic…

Most of us have heard the term “cross-training.” The general idea is, you shouldn’t school your horse day in and day out to do Discipline X or pretty soon he’s going to get sour and hate Discipline X. You should mix it up, do something different, and give him some mental breaks. I agree with this 100%, but I’m curious to hear what that means to you and what you do with your horses.

My old show horse Jack competed in pretty much all of the typical open show events. We did showmanship, hunt seat and western and he won a lot of high point trophies. While Jack was well trained enough to dink around with the other WP horses, he truly loved to run so we did things like gallop in my back hayfield and occasionally run barrels and poles at the shows. He wasn’t good at barrels or poles – he was a big horse and not that great at pulling himself together for a fast turn – but he liked it. So we did it. At home I whacked polo balls around off of him, jumped a little, and used him to pony young horses.

(I’ve always hit polo balls off the show horses. I think it’s good for them and most of them find it interesting. I will have to start that with the VLC. I am just not sure they make a mallet that long…)

Of course, I know that if I were keeping the VLC at some nice h/j barn and I went to whacking polo balls around off of him, people would think I had lost my ever-loving mind. In those kind of barns, cross-training means that you do a little dressage sometimes with your hunter.

To me, the perfect horse is something like the VLC’s famous uncle, Favor Mr. Sabre. FMS is a full brother to the VLC’s dam. He was AQHA Amateur Versatility Horse of the Year in 2001. He has points in halter, ranch versatility, barrel racing, reining, trail, hunter under saddle, working cowhorse, western pleasure, western horsemanship, hunt seat equitation, western riding, pole bending, showmanship, and breakaway roping. I love the idea of a horse that can win western pleasure and barrels at the same AQHA show. I’d very much like for the VLC to mature into exactly that kind of a horse. (By the way, if anybody has a picture of FMS, I’ve always wanted to see one and have so far failed to locate it. Super special bonus points for video!)

So, I’m curious, what does cross-training mean to you? What do you like to do with your horses that is totally different from what they show/compete at? Have you jumped your cutting horse or taken your warmblood team sorting? Do you have one of those fabulous all-around horses who does it all and does it well? Do you agree that cross-training improves performance and keeps their mind fresh, or do you think it’s possible to confuse them by doing things that are very different? Does your horse like to do a lot of different things, or does he/she seem to get frazzled when you deviate from the norm?

Published in: on August 11, 2008 at 3:59 pm  Leave a Comment  

The URI to TrackBack this entry is: https://verylargecolt.wordpress.com/2008/08/11/what-does-cross-training-mean-to-you/trackback/

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: