- Personal Performance Coach for all riders | Cutting Horse Trainer and Educator | Author, Speaker, Clinician - https://barbraschulte.com -

Getting Nic Fit

Last week, I shared that I’m getting Nic ready to be a show horse again for a veteran from the BraveHearts Education Program in Harvard, Illinois.

I’m honored again this year to be one of the trainers, so Nic is the guy who’s going to be one of the show horses. We don’t know yet who our veteran will be, but I know they will be just right for Mr. Nic here.

One important task I have is to get Nic into show shape. After last week’s video, I was asked, “What criteria do I use to measure his fitness?”

I thought that was an excellent question! That’s what this video is all about.


VIDEO TRANSCRIPT:
Hi, it’s Barb. And last week, I shared that I’m getting Nic ready to be a show horse again for a veteran from the BraveHearts Education Program in Harvard, Illinois.

Eighteen vets from BraveHearts are coming to Fort Worth to show again this year. Each will have their own world-class professional cutting horse trainer as a coach, and the trainer is responsible for providing the horse.

I’m honored again this year to be one of the trainers, so Nic is the guy who’s going to be one of the show horses. We don’t know yet who our veteran will be, but I know they will be just right for Mr. Nic here.

One important task I have is to get Nic into show shape. After last week’s video, I was asked, “What criteria do I use to measure his fitness?”

I thought that was an excellent question!

And I know there are many scientific parameters like heart rate monitors and the like, but I have a system that has worked for me over the years – and it’s super simple.

First, I consider the physical requirements for what Nic has to do.

  1. He must have enough air to breathe well during a 2 1/2 minute cutting run, during which he may well end up working two or three fast running, stopping, and turning cattle. That may not seem like a long time, but the effort and energy expended for bursts of speed and quick pivots in deep sand are rigorous!
  2. The muscles he uses specifically for this sport need to be conditioned. He needs strength for the muscles in his hindquarters and flexibility and strength for his shoulders and front legs. Not only does he need the power for high performance, but he needs it so he doesn’t get injured.

Secondly, I build up his breathing, muscle strength, and flexibility.

Here’s how I increase his breathing capacity. I do intermittent aerobic training.

  1. I begin by walking for 10-15 minutes to warm his muscles.
  2. I trot for 5 minutes or so at a time (depending on his breathing), during which I bring his energy up and down with my breathing and seat. This conditions him and helps him get relaxed and connected to me without excessive or high demands. Those exercises engage him in mind, body, and emotion.
  3. I walk if needed after trotting to bring his heart rate down to just above normal.
  4. I do the same thing again but at the canter. How long I trot, or canter depends on his breathing. Then I let him catch his air.
  5. I repeat the cycles of walking, trotting, and loping 3 or 4 times in a session to build conditioning.
  6. Ideally, as he gets more conditioned, it will take longer to elevate his heart rate and breathing, and he will recover his air more quickly.
  7. Then, on most days, we’ll do a short flag or cow work which strengthens his muscles for working a cow. This will condition him aerobically, build physical strength for cutting and tune him simultaneously.

So there you have it. That’s my simple conditioning routine.

Nic and I have the true honor of participating in an incredible program. I hope you’ll join me in supporting their work that makes a difference in the lives of so many veterans.

There’s a link below the video now where you may choose to contribute whatever amount works for you – and you can do it online or mail in a check.

Our sponsorship group will be known as Ayalas Angels in memory of Victor Ayalas, who rode in the competition last year and passed on last Fall after a bout with Covid.

Thank you for all you do.

Much love,
Barb

Click this link to become an Ayalas’ Angel online. [1]