I've been working with my mare and she is making great progress. Not fighting against the bit anymore, going long and low on cue, etc. She still gets nervous in new areas, especially when on her own, but she is manageable. Recently we did a 12 mile ride up a canyon at all gaits and, after the first 5 jittery minutes, she settled down just fine and we had a nice ride.
I would love to do this 35 mile ride but... I just don't know if we are ready! This would be our first. I was hoping our first would be a 25 mile but this area unfortunately doesn't have many rides so I feel like I must consider every opportunity. I'm afraid as a complete newbie I've still not gotten into the swing of checking heart rates (I need to do that more...), but she does seem to cool down fast. Actually I find it difficult to even tire this mare out! On the ride up the canyon we did some fast canters and went up/down hills and it didn't seem to phase her. No huffing and puffing and hardly broke a sweat.
My goal isn't place high right now (though finishing before last would be nice!). I just want to get my mare out there, used to the setting, and completing without any hiccups. Aerobically, she seems decently fit, but I don't know how fit is fit enough. But I don't want to push her too hard
My goal is to start going 10-15 miles twice a week. But even then the actual rides are going to be longer than my training rides and this concerns me a bit.
Any tips or advice on getting ready for that first ride? I am fortunately going with people very experienced with endurance riding, though they will be doing the 50 and I might be riding alone on the 35, and will seek their advice as well.