Q&A with Trond Smedshammer

RCS. You have read the interview with Per Eriksson. What are your comments on Per’s methodology with using the Pro Trainer.

TS. Per is a master with using the Pro Trainer and of course his applications are right on. Obviously this has worked for him.

RCS. Per suggested that you may be using the PT in other ways, like intervals and going with a bit of speed. Would you please elaborate on that.

TS. Intervals and the PT work. We have played around with the PT a lot over the years. We have discovered intervals and the Pro Trainer has real value. We use it, depending on the horse, to build even more strength by adding some easy speed work. We’ll go at 2:40 to 3:00 clip starting at 50 pounds of pressure. With 1 minute on and 1 minute off for 6 intervals. As we continue the development we’ll add intervals with the same pressure. We’ll then go back to 6 intervals and increase the pressure 10 pounds at a time. Much of this development, as with Per, is done between the 2 and three year old seasons. Remember my operation is working with preparing stakes horses. You must also keep in mind that the PT may not work with every horse. Like Per we have identified that if the horse is relaxed, lowers its head and works the hind end, you got a winner. If the horse fights it after some time, move on.

RCS. Do you see any difference with using the PT with Pacers?

TS. As you know, I only train trotters. Some people believe that the PT will sore up a pacer. I believe that for sure if the protocol is only walking there will be absolutely no difference.

Let’s look at the movement and exercise physiology of the horse. The horse propels from the rear not the front. Some people believe that then that whether ita trotter or a pacer there will be no difference. Think about it, if the horse propels itself forward from the rear, what is the difference? It may be more a matter of the horse not getting it, not whether it’s a trotter or pacer. Remember with the Pro Trainer it is resistance conditioning. Its like going up a hill, will a pacer injure itself if it paces up a hill, if the front end is merely keeping the horse from falling down and steering what’s the problem?

RCS. How do you use the Pro Trainer other than between the 2 and 3 year old seasons?

TS. Here again it depends on the horse and the operation. If it is a matter of building strength through resistance conditioning then the PT will serve extremely well. We do integrate PT work throughout the season. It depends on the horse and what you need to accomplish. That’s up to the trainer. For example if my operation was working with older horses already racing, like claimers for example, the Pro Trainer absolutely could have value regardless of the age of the horse or whwre we race. You just need to know how to use it and how far and fast to go. The Pro Trainer does not make a horse sore, ill informed or impatient trainers make horses sore.

RCS. How may ways do you use the PT?

TS. The applications are probably limitless. The trainer does not train by reading books nor often from other people. It’s feel and sensitivity to the horse and the task. The Pro Trainer is a tool, plain and simple, by itself it will not build world champions and triple crown winners. In the hands of the astute it is very, very powerful. Up to this point, only a few of us realized the wonder, I guess the word will get out more now. I wish I could say there were a lot of secrets to using the Pro Trainer but not so. It is mostly knowing and building confidence with the tool and being a wise, sensitive and hard working horse trainer.

RCS. Would you please describe some additional benefits of the Pro Trainer?

TS. There are some real obvious benefits.

It’s really comfortable.

It is built to last a lifetime and I know in Europe many have been used since they first came out maybe 20 years ago.

It helps keep a horse sound, maybe even make an unsound horse less sore, by going straighter and more squared up. The horse will be less likely to favor one side over the other.

The horse is less likely to cheat and less likely to favor one side against the other.

It works well with shorter intervals and corresponding rest periods. It is the rest periods with intervals where the horse grows and therefore very important. The science gets a little technical but pressure on and pressure off is a blend of progressive overload and partial recovery. With the PT a trainer can manipulate the anaerobic value by the length of rest periods. With the Pro Trainer we can better dig into the deep muscle fibers.

It is great with sore or injured horses where you can get some real work without the demands of great speed. Often I can see the work value and the horse has just walked or jogged real slow for 30 to 45 minutes.

My people are well trained and capable of doing a lot. But when you are in the walking training mode a less skilled driver can produce more value. I suspect this would be especially good with many operations.

RCS. We understand that pretty much all of your horses are conditioned using the Pro Trainer. Would you please assign a percentage of value to the success of your operation with the PT.

TS. I am a very consertative person and may tend to under estimate the value of any given element in any given situation. If I had pick a number though, I’d say 20 percent.

RCS. Trond thank you very much for taking time from your schedule to share your wisdom and some of your experiences in using the Pro Trainer Pressure to Power Cart. For our other clients and users would you please summarize your feelings?

TS. Sure! This is not rocket science. It is very basic and not complicated. You need to first be a good horseman. It’s a feel thing just like so much of our profession. Know your horses and what they are telling you. The signs are pretty obvious if the PT will work with any given horse.