Starting an Aged Horse
First just let the horse get the feel of the PT and the pedal. Be real calm with the hook-up. Does the horse like the weight? How does the horse respond to pressure on and pressure off for short intervals (60 seconds on and 60 seconds off). Does the horse drop the head some, work the back end and enjoy the exercise?
One starting point at 4 reps with 50 or 60 pounds of pressure. Proceed cautiously and measure the increases based on feed back from the horse. First increasing the repititions to to get up to say 15. Monitor the horse by palpating the pressure points along the spine. When you are comfortable there is minimal soreness, reduce the reps to 4 or 6 and increase the pressure 10 pounds. For each 10 pound incremental increase of pressure, reduce the reps. Some method of progressive loading will minimize the chance for injury or excessive soreness for the horse.
Remember, up to this point virtually all work with a resistance cart has been walking. New methods are evolving using reststance carts at speeds faster than just walking and levels of pressure more than 100 bar (bar is a measure of pressure). Combining heart monitoring with resistance is opens exciting potential for conditioning racehorses.
Doing ProTrainer speed work with aged horses is very possible. Much depends on the attitude of the horse, the conditioning focus and the expertise, sensitivity and assertiveness of the trainer. Check out the case study in the How Much Pressure-0 to 250 pounds for one success story.