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Resistance Carts

Note***This link is very long and it is suggested you print it out for reading.

How Much Pressure - 0 to 250 Pounds

How much pressure is only part of the equation. The second part is how much speed is appropriate with the amount of pressure. Know your horses, know the tools.

Of course using a heart monitor helps keep the workouts most effective and safe. Recovery, between intervals and between days of work, is very important. It is the trainers job to know the horses, know the tools and know how to make the applications work. Know your horses, know the tools.

The Case Studies share some examples of safe results with medium to fast speed and high degrees of pressure. Essentially the horses in case studies 1 & 2 are, as Jimmy Takter characterized "I admire what you are doing, you are working with cheap cripples and all you have to work on is a 1/3 mile jog track.

The horses in case studies 1 & 2 had at least 20 miles jogging with a resistance cart. ALWAYS apply the pressure slowly before you increase the speed.

Too much pressure and going too fast and too soon may cause soft tissue injury!

In Case Studies 1 & 2 all the conditioning work was performed on a 1/3 mile flat, hard and tight jog track.

Case Study #1: Old Stage Farm - Albrightsville, PA

R Blake was owned and trained by an amateur (novice) trainer again on a 1/3 mile flat, tight and hard jog track. "He was introduced to the Pro Trainer as a 4 year old. As of August 2006, after two years of experimentation, the only Pro Trainer work he needed was 4 days out from the race. The typical workout then consisted of 5 to 7 minutes of warm-up, turn to counter-clockwise and proceeding with 4 one half mile intervals starting at 18 mph up to 24mph (the ProTrainer has a speedometer) with 60 seconds rest between the intervals and concluding with a 10 minute cool down bringing the heart rate to about 100 bpm. The ProTrainer pressure was 125 bar (Bar is the Universal Measure of pressure).

It is important to note that the work was structered to get the heart rate to 95% of his maximum heart rate of 230 bpm, in at least the one half mile interval. The work out was intended to deplete his energy (glycogen) stores. The rest of the time he jogged, got a lot of paddock time, ate and rested.

R Blake was a small horse and held his weight nicely with 12 pounds of sweet feed a day plus supplements of 9 ounces whey protein daily mixed equally in three feedings. Extra carbohydrates, cracked corn or maltodextrins, were added after the hard work out to reload the glycogen. "The idea is to help the horse "peak" on race day."

This program worked for R Blake. "After almost two years of rather intense Pro Trainer work he still just got better. He stayed sound and loved the work. As of August 6, 2006 he's won $3540 in his last 5 starts. Its fun to watch him the night before a race when the glycogen reload starts to kick in." Stated Joe Geiser. "Peaking a race horse at just the right time, race day, is part art and part science and I'm just learning some of the possibilities ".

R Blake was a cheap horse purchase for $5500 and won over $25,000 racing lightly and driven often by the amateur on the Billings. On September 23, 2006 he was claimed for $8000. In races for the new trainer, using more traditional techniques, R Blake's performance was less effective.

For about 5 months, we followed Geoff Webster's, a top trainer in Australia who uses heart monitors with all of his horses, of 4 quarters at over 200 bpm with 60 seconds rest between the quarter mile intervals. R Blake became a very strong closer and it is perceived that those over 200bpm intervals layed a solid foundation for better management of lactic acid.

"I'm convinced that the Polar set-up and ProTrainer applications made a difference with this horse. He lowered his life time mark from 2:01.1 to 1:57.2. In the two years I owned him, the only vet work ever was having his hocks done in early 2006 which in itself is interesting. With our farm and track, the hard work this little guy received was only possible with the ProTrainer and Polar. " A significance with R Blake demonstrated, that jogging an aged horse at with a resistance cart and a heart monitor can garner very positive results. "We paid for the ProTrainer and Polar set-up many times over with just this horse." concluded Geiser.

There is a note of sadness with R Blake. I late July 2007 he contracted a very serious infection. After treatment by three different vetrinerians, on July 27 he was euthanized.

Case Study #2 - Old Stage Farm Albrightsville PA

Allentown is a 5 year old gelding pacer with a lifetime mark of 1:53 in a $5000 claimer at Pocono September 2006.

In December 2006 he was diagnosed with sclerosis in both knees. He and he was shut down for 4 months. On April 17 he started back to work. Running the risk of fracture but not wanting to rely just walking with resistance, it was decided to jog at low speeds with very high resistance (200 bar) focusing on heart rates at 200 and above beats per minute working every third day.

On July 13 a trial was performed to determine his maximum heart rate. The first trial resulted in a max of 223.

From April 17 to July 20 he worked every three days doing four one half miles intervals, 60 seconds recovery between intervals and 10 minutes of easy jogging with no resistance to cool down.

On July 20, 2007 he trained a mile at Mohegan Pocono Downs in 2:06.3. The heart rate in this training mile was 226. After the mile and 10 minutes of jogging to cool down he was blowing only lightly.

Note***Provisional approval has been granted by the Pennsylvania Harness Racing Commission to use a Polar CS600 in qualifying races. Please call RCS at 570-722-2658 for details and more information.

He had a second training mile at MPD on July 27 in 2:02.2. Again the respiration was moderate. Allentown has a high cardio-vascular (aerobic) fitness level. The knees are holding up well and were injected on August 3 with 1cc Vetalog, 4cc Gel 50 and .25cc Amakacin.

He qualified on Thursday August 9 at Pocono in 2:01.4. The driver (amateur) held him back on purpose to above all else keep him flat as he has a propensity to run. The heart rate during the qualifying race maxed out at 224. It is perceived that 224 is his maximum heart rate. It is perceived that a minimum desirable maximum heart rate is 230bpm.

Considering the apparent aerobic fittness the anaerobic muscle fiber development will now be intensified. Allentown will be entered in a $5000 claimer on Monday August 20.

The plan was:

Sunday 8/12 - Did close to a mile getting bpm well over 200. Warmed up for 7 minutes warmed down for 10 minutes.

Monday 8/13-Off*

Tuesday 8/14 - Resiatance Cart-Four Quarters, each over 200bpm and the last at 220, 60 seconds or less between the work intervals, pressure at 150 bar. 10 minutes to warm down. NOTE *10 minutes of an easy jog after any intense work will re-absorb most lactic acid.

Wednesday 8/15- Off*

Thursday 8/16-Warm up a mile, Resiatance Cart at 150 bar doing three continuous 5 minute miles keeping the heart rate between 150 & 170 bpm. Warm down 10 minutes.

Friday 8/17-Resistance Cart at 150 bar-Four Halves over 200 bpm and the last touching at least 95% of maximum bpm. Warm down for 10.

Saturday 8/18-Jog Cart easy jogging for about 10 to 15 minutes.

Sunday 8/19 - Off

Monday 8/20 - Race: Pocono Downs, $5000CL, 4 Hole, Finished 8th 1:59.4/:31 last 1/4, Amateur Driver and Parked to the 3/4 pole.

Up to this point most of the work has been Anaerobic: 1/2 and 1/4 Mile Intervals going at speeds not exceeding a 4 minute mile (15mph) and pressure up to 200 bar working over 200 beats per minute and moving mostly every third day.

Up to September 11, 2007 from April 17 Allentown worked only 51 times. Of those workouts, except for two training miles, one qualifyier and two races, he never went over a 3:00 mile (20 mph) and most of the work was at a 4:00 clip (15mph).

Slow speed, low concussion high work value. Virtually all workouts were less than 25 minutes in duration. Remember the pressure was up to 200 bar. There has been no injury to this horse at those speeds and that pressure!


Even after injection of the knees with a mild cortisone cocktail the knees blow up after a few days. It is perceived with a normal daily jogging and training program this horse would not be racing. Presently the horse is on a race every other week cycle. Next race planned for 9/3

Perceiving that Allentown needs endurance conditioning the training is shifting to Aerobic Muscle System Development...longer miles (minimum of 6) with less pressure (125 bar) slower 5 minute clip (12mph). The goal is keeping the heart rate at 170 beats per minute. Moving only every other day.

8/23 - 6.3 miles

8/25 - 5.3 miles. Very hot and humid

8/27 - 4.9 miles. Knees were screaming.

8/28 - Vet, Digital X-Ray to confirm no breaks, Injected Vetalog/Amikacin/Hylartin V

8/31 - Anaerobic workout in prep for race 9/3. Seven minute warm up, 4 1/4 mile intervals with 60 seconds recovery between intervals, Pressure at 100 bar top speed 3:00 (20mph) 10 minute cool down. Nice glycogen depleting type workout geared to peaking on race day Monday. (He appeared to peak on Sunday so after one more trial at three days out from a race, we may work this horse hard two days out from the race. "Glycogen Depletion, Glycogen Reloading and Peaking" is part art and part science and quite easy to achieve with a Polar CS 600 and a Resistance Cart. But we'll go one more week with strength/speed work on Friday, three days out.

9/3 - Race - Pocono Downs still a $5000CL, 8th hole, finished 7th, 1:58.4/LQ :30. The amateur driver got parked again for 3/4 of the race. The horse looked and felt better at the finish. Plan to race again Monday 9/17

9/5 - Aerobic Work, 8.2 miles (note with the Polar CS 600 you know the exact total time of the workout, complete heart rate experience, tempreture, top speed and the receiver can be easily programmed to present and store other valuable data. After the workout it was perceived the horse could have had one more day off after the race, so we added a day off. As the weather cools the every other day work will be good if we can manage the knees.

9/8 - A good aerobic workout of 7.6 miles (Only 6 miles with pressure and 170bpm. We brushed the last 1/8 mile taking the heart rate to 219 for a touch of anaerobic. It was a hot humid morning and late to the track. "We pushed the envelope with this workout and his respiration rate became very high just as we were finishing. His heart rate recovery was very slow when we got back to the stable and his temp was 105.1. We cooled him off with the shower, 20 minute cold spray on the legs, iced the knees and walked for a while.

9/10 - We walked with the resistance cart for 30 minutes (20 minutes with pressure at 100 bar.

9/12 - Back the 6 minute 170 bpm work (Aerobic-Cardio-Vascular).

9/14 - We'll do Anaerobic work (Over 200bpm Strength-Speed).

9/15 No work we'll do his knees.

Monday 9/17 Race if Pocono has the $5000 claimer and he gets picked. If not no problem we'll just continue with the building process.

Allentown is still a $5000 Claimer but...

...in his last 6 races he has a 5th, two seconds and a win.

We'll enter to race again at Monticello on Thursday 12/20/07.

Al is now on a 2 week race cycle, every other Thursday. He is fit but can still improve.
Race Thursday.

Train Monday-Aerobic and Anaerobic. We want to convert many Type IIc muscle fibers to fast twitch, 170 to 200 beats per minute. The pressure on the Resistance Cart ranges between 75 to 125 bar and we want two 2 mile intervals with 70 to 90 seconds recovery between the interval and of course jog down for at least 10 minutes. Our speed was between 6 and 15 miles per hour

Train Thursday-Because of shitty weather we got only half of Monday's workout so we did it again. He trained like a champ! He has been barefoot since December 2006 except to race. We are managing his knees. His speed did not exceed 15 miles per hour.

Train Monday-except for the warm up and warm down this is a Full Anaerobic Workout. We'll do 4 quarters with pressure at 100 to 125 and each interval with heart rates at least 200 beats per minute. The recovery time between each interval is :45 seconds. The heart rate will escilate with each interval but the speed will remain constant at about 17 miles per hour.

Race Thursday-We'll see how we do, stay tuned.

Since Allentown started back in April every workout is stored in his Polar calendar. He has only raced 10 times and his work program is about 1/2 of a traditional program.
Train Monday-Anaerobic. Our track is presently frozen hard with some ice

Foot Notes on Allentown

He gets turned out every day.

His diet is supplemented with 9 ounces of whey protein concentrate mixed equally in each feeding. This helps repair and build muscle tissue...just like human athletes.

With the 4, 3 or perhaps 2 day pre-race speed workout we will have depleted most of the glycogen stores. It is recovery time and we are tapering to help Allentown peak on race day. We reload with extra carbs, course cracked corn or maltodextrins.

With Allentown's poor knees we have tried to minimize concussion and time on the training track. Again without using a balanced aerobic/anaerobic program (which is most assured with a heart monitor) and a resistance cart to reduced impact Allentown would now probably be retired.

One rule of thumb in the harness world is for every month off take a month to bring the horse back. A traditional program would have required close to 500 miles of work.

Allentown's recovery training program mirrors that time frame/schedule but...

Since April 17 Allentown has moved only about 65 times total and less than 250 miles. The only TRADITIONAL speed work was 2 training miles, 1 qualifier and 2 races.

Remember*** 90% of Allentown's work was on a 1/3 mile jog track. Stand by for more information on Allentown as we move forward.

Case Study #3

Fox Valley Merlin – Erv Miller Stable Springfield, IL

Since November 2006 Erv has purchased 5 ProTrainer Resistance Carts and he is getting favorable results. "I have used resistance carts over the years and with patience you can improve horses just by walking."

When asked if he has identified the point when he will see a positive return on his investment with the ProTrainers he said, "Not yet, its too soon. The heart monitoring aspects of your program may take us to a new frontier." Erv uses his ProTrainer mostly walking his horses with less than 100 bar of pressure.

Erv was intrigued with the Polar CS600 so he bought one. He understood the basic value of monitoring an athlete’s heart rate and using that data to improve conditioning effectiveness. (1)

Erv decided to pick one horse and play with combining the ProTrainer with some speed work using pressure between 50 to 80 bar while dialing in a heart monitoring feature.

He selected Fox Valley Merlin for the informal study. Merlin is a sound 5 year old pacer gelding with a then life time mark of 1:55 as a 4 year old on the mile at Du Quoin. Erv wanted to get him stronger and wake him up a bit.

Starting the week of July 7 Merlin began working with resistance in intervals and he liked the work. Erv’s son Marcus was charged with managing Merlin’s program.

“It is difficult to start anything new this time of year in our operation. The schedule is intense, but Merlin got some interval work with the ProTrainer and Polar CS 600. We learned some things and he is definitely stronger," stated Marcus. (2)

Merlin now has a new lifetime mark of 1:51 set at Springfield Mile in August with Marcus driving. On August 22 Merlin placed 2nd on the ½ mile at Greenup in 1:57.3 with a different driver which may be even more significant than the 1:51 at Springfield.

Erv said, “When this season is over, we are going to spend more time working with these tools and some speed work. I’m convinced we can build strength with this program. I see the results with Merlin. I just to need to find out how we will use various degrees of resistance with various degrees of speed to fit with what I believe to be best for OUR horses.”

Although Erv knows that other case studies show results with horses pulling up to 200 bar with some speed he is very cautious. “I have experimented with a few other horses in our stable and may have pushed to fast too soon. I need more time find the right combinations that works for us. We’ll do that over the winter.(3)”

When asked if the Protrainer and Polar CS600 helped achieve his 2nd goal of "waking up" Merlin, Erv stated, “He’s real alert yet also seems more relaxed. I’m not sure your program helped with that. He had a lot of time off before this season, we picked his races to win and build his confidence and Marcus drove him well. We’ll find out more as we set up to get ready for 2008.”

Foot Notes to Case Study #3:

1. Erv purchased his 2nd Polar CS 600.

2. Strength training is predominately an anaerobic activity at over 200 beats per minute. Short intervals of exertion and recovery are very effective. With a resistance cart you can go slower and get the job done.

3. With a resistance cart you can get more quality work regardless of the weather,