NEW PROTRAINER TRAINING TIPS 2007
RCS comments in are in red. RCS has interpreted and modified the original translation of Training Tips.
Stig Sundberg, founder of Sweden's Innovations NA and Inventor of the ProTrainer was on target and years ahead of his time. But where he stopped is not the end...IT IS THE BEGINNING!
When working with a resistance cart do not use an over check on the horse. When applying the pressure, press the pedal slowly and smoothly.
Always keep in mind that training with Pro-trainer is the same as working up a hill. The pressure determines the steepness of the hill and the trainer determines the length of the hill. Training of young and older horses is basically the same except the pressure and the distance should be less with young horses.
THERE ARE THREE GROUPS OF TRAINING
Group 1: Basic Training.
Group 2: Aerobic training for lungs, heart and endurance.
Group 3: Anaerobic training for strength, speed and lactic acid tolerance.
This basic training is very important, especially for young horses.
Start group 1 training at 1 1/2 years of age so that the horse develops "real" legs for future training.
It is common knowledge that missed training between 1 1/2 and 2 years of age can never be recovered. We respectfully take issue with Mr Sundberg's suggestion of the age to start a horse pulling a resistance cart. To the best of our knowledge there is no science (yet) to support a specific best age to begin training a standardbred racehorse. However scientific studies do indicate that resistance conditioning supports bone, tendon and ligament development with no reference to a specific age. (Fleck/Falkel, 1986)
You must be careful and be very observant when training a young horse. Today’s young horses are easy to get going and it is easy to drive them too fast causing injury. You can be much harder in training a full grown horse.
The Training Procedure.
This exercise is only walking, in maximum 30 sec. intervals, to get contraction and relaxation of the muscles. Because the horse quickly becomes stronger by this type of training it is not possible to recommend any specific pressure, therefore you must identify the horses maximum stride length.
Let the horse walk with very low pressure, and then gradually increase the pressure, noticing how the stride length increases with added pressure. As pressure is increased, at a certain point, the stride length will become shorter. At this point, reduce the pressure until the horse again reaches its maximum stride length.
When the horse starts tiring and the strides get shorter, reduce pressure to maintain maximum stride length. Here you must be very observant of the signals from your horse.
In the first period of training it’s enough to drive for 10 minutes, ten 30 second intervals with pressure on and ten 30 second recovery periods with no pressure. Gradually increase the intervals as the horse gets stronger to 30. This training can be done every other day. It’s very important that the horse is warmed up before you start the pressure intervals. Warm up 10 minutes of easy jog without load and after finishing the intervals jog for at least 10 minutes to help re-absorb the lactic acid.
To avoid the horse getting stiff, after 14 days of power training, work the horse with a jog cart doing several one eighth to one quarter mile sprints at maximum speed together with a relaxing jog between the sprints. This can be repeated every third work day.
Now you could use the ProTrainer for three days, do sprints for two days and add two days of rest in a suitable mix. The Idea with this training is to quicken/strengthen the newly developed muscles.
In order to develop the horse’s mental health and general relaxation it is recommended to jog the horse one day a week on a path in the woods or a low traffic road. After this training you should have a peppy and vigorous horse with stronger legs.
This training is to develop the heart muscle and lung capacity.
The Training Procedure.
All training is done while jogging with the resistance cart and using a heart monitor. The pressure should be 50 to 70 bar and the methodology is 60 second intervals and the speed approximately 15mph = 4:00 minute mile tempo.
Release the pedal and let the horse run without load for 1 to 1.5 minute, Then slowly press down the pedal again and repeat the 60 second load run, followed by running free again for 1 to1.5 minutes, and so on. Begin with 10 minutes (4 load runs) and increase gradually to after a month reach 45-50 minutes (=20 Load runs). The heart rate should never exceed 170-180 beats/min. Train every second day, in between turn the horse out in a corral. In addition one day a week, train with the resistance cart while doing sprints as explained in Group 1 to retain quickness and vigor.
Endurance conditioning is focusing on the cardio-vascular system. It is presently believed that for the best results, use the resistance cart with whatever pressure you need to keep the horse going at the same speed (15 mph is fine, a 4:00 minute mile pace) and keeping the heart rate at 170 beats per minute. This is “Steady State Training”. Save the intervals for GROUP 3.
We want a horse to finish better than its competition. It is the accumulation of lactic acid, a by product of anaerobic metabolism,that causes loss of power in the muscle and shortens the horse’s stride. With the Group 3 Training it is especially important a heart monitor is used. You could re-read our 1st Education Paper, “Not a Mystery-Resistance Conditioning”, where we discuss homeostasis (return to what feels normal). We are stressing the horse to a point of momentary exhaustion, relaxing for a predetermined period and then doing it again. It is called progressive overload. Click here for “Not a Mystery-Resistance Conditioning”.
At around 200 beats per minute, where the fuel for muscle contraction is predominantly glycogen and is metabolized anaerobically, a more rapid production of lactic acid starts. The object is to raise the threshold where the acid starts to debilitate, which will lengthen the time before the legs lose their strength.
Start with a good warm up. Set pressure to 80-100 (60-80 for babies) and drive in 3:00 minute mile tempo which is 20 Mph. Let the heart rate monitor decide the length of these intervals. When at 200, try to maintain it for approximately one quarter of a mile by either holding back or encouraging the horse. Then release the load and slow the horse down. Notice how heart rate slows. If it does not, decrease the speed until the heart rate is down to 100-120 beats per minute. Then apply the load again bringing the speed to approximately 20 Mph and heart rate again climbing to 200 beats per minute or over. Start out with 3-4 intervals, and end the Group 3 Training when the horse can do 8-10 intervals. Studies indicate recovery down to 100–120 beats per minute is counter productive. Be more concerned with the time/length of recovery regardless of the heart rate: 45, 60 and sometimes 90 second recovery periods are good. We will learn and introduce ideas of the value of manipulating to best achieve partial anaerobic recovery to most effectively condition the anaerobic system. In future Education Papers and through our upcoming Newsletters we will explore this in more detail.
Mr Sundberg, although brilliant in his own right and ahead of his time, this is not the end, it is the beginning.
”It is now our job to broaden the understanding and increase the potential.”
Racehorse Conditioning Systems
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