Training Jog Tracks

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LSD is vital in recovering horses from injury.  LSD is Long, Slow Distance (see the article on this elsewhere), and jog tracks are perfect for this.

When tissue is stressed, all connective tissue responds and strengthens from the Piezoelectric currents.  The opposite is disuse atrophy (the “couch potato” syndrome).   Jogging on the controlled surface of a jogging track is the perfect way to increase the strength and stamina of horses.

The speed of the training horse determines the variety of track construction and the money available to make them.  Race training tracks can have the best footing, banked turns, starting chutes and gates, and various surfaces such as dirt and grass.  Lay-up farms or polo barns will have a dirt track running the perimeter of a field.  Some riders will also lead 2 or 3 additional horses while riding one (called ponying horses) to exercise several horses.

Grooming track surfaces to provide a smooth, even, and safe surface is constant.  Rocks will crop up over the winter months, especially on poorly constructed tracks and require sharp eyes to discover. 

In 1976 when I lived in Santa Barbara, California, I would arrive at the polo fields at 4:30 in the morning, saddle up one horse and gather up 2 or 3 others.  In the dark, I would take this group out for some turns around the track to keep them loose.  I worked 4 to 5 sets before getting to my 1st class at 8 am.  One day one set felt frisky, and I couldn’t stop the group.  After a few turns with galloping horses, I was ready to bail off my horse, but that is impossible while ponying.  My only other option was to make a sharp turn into the infield and pray we didn’t end up in a pile.  We didn’t, but my future was definitely in jeopardy on that day.

On my farm in upstate New York, we owned a large section of woods.  We marked a path and hired a dozer to make a jogging track in an oval with a figure eight. However, it wasn’t level, but it provided an incline for legging up horses.  Or track-through-the-woods was the most remarkable addition to our farm, and if you can do this, it will also be fantastic for your training program.

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