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How long should a training session last?

india Mar 16, 2019

Those of you that are familiar with the Kandoo Training will know that I am certainly not an advocate of long training sessions. A tired horse, mentally or physically tired, is not learning and if the horse is not learning then you are simply going backwards. A horse being run around a round pen or lunged for extended periods, for example, is often being worked or exhausted into submission. This may have the desired result, a quieter horse, today but it will not improve the horse’s behaviour over time and certainly not improve your relationship with the horse or their willingness to interact with you next time.

Over the past two decades, when I have been training horses full-time, I have found that the ultimate training schedule, the one that optimizes learning, retention and engagement, is as little as fifteen minutes twice a day.

Horses, especially those educationally-young horses, do not have the capacity to concentrate for lengthy periods of time. They also rarely have the musculature to perform for lengthier periods without discomfort, pain or even injury.

While I have been advocating for this type of training schedule for more than twenty years, I’ve never kept diaries in the way I did for the horses in India. I was keeping the diaries so that all of the staff were up to date with how each horse was progressing. Each of the horses made amazing progress and each session only lasted between ten and twenty minutes per horse, twice a day.

You can download some of the horse diaries here.

Each of the horses progressed well beyond expectations. Every short lesson was calm and gentle and despite the heat, sweat-free. When it was very hot, we began early, rested during the heat of the day and trained again in the late afternoon. Each horse was keen to come back for training and we often had a queue outside the training area!

Check out the Training Diaries here. You can download them and even follow along with your horse.  You can also find individual blogs on each of the horses mentioned in the diaries. 

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