All rides are considered training sessions. Even a trail ride can be used as an opportunity to reinforce the basics or teach a simple maneuver. How long you keep your riding sessions will depend on how intense they are. Too long and you’ll have a horse that’s exhausted mentally and physically, but too short and the objective may not get accomplished.
The Ideal Length of Time
Training sessions that are intense should be kept between 20 and 30 minutes long. That’s enough time to work on something new, but not wear your horse out. Of course, they can be longer or shorter depending on how your horse responds. Many riders drill their horses for over an hour. They’re likely to get frustrated and stop learning. The best way to show your horse they have mastered a certain element is to end the ride early.
Trail rides and riding for leisure don’t have to be as short. Look out for obvious signs of mental or physical fatigue. Ask yourself these questions when determining how long to keep your rides.
- Am I teaching my horse something difficult?
- Did they make a good attempt?
- Have you given your horse a lot of walk breaks?
- Are they lathered in sweat?
- Are their ears pinned back or tail swishing aggressively?
- How frequently do you ride?
Besides ride length, it’s also important to consider how many times a week you ride. If you typically ride four to fives times in a week, a short 30 minutes session is perfect. Your horse will learn their best under these conditions.