Best breeds for endurance or competitive trail - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 44 Old 07-29-2012, 02:00 AM
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What about a Haflinger? Super hardy, have Arab and Alpine Pony blood.
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post #12 of 44 Old 07-29-2012, 02:02 AM
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Well, since the thread said endurance and competitive trail, I can speak for the competitive trail side. Competitive trail is a broadish term. When I say it, I mean a pace race where you have a window of time and ride between 15 and 40 miles a day for two or three days. I particularly do rides sanctioned by NATRC, so that's where most of my experience is coming from.

Almost any horse can do Novice/CP level rides if you put a little effort into conditioning. These rides are usually around 20 miles a day for two days and are usually paced at around 3.5-4.0 miles per hour. For most horses, that means fast walking and a little trotting. I've seen huge drafts and little ponies complete and even win. I see a little bit of everything.

Many horses can do Open level rides. These are around 30 miles a day (sometimes 35/40 the first day and a shorter day after) at a 5 or 6 mile per hour pace. Doesn't seem like a huge increase in pace, but it leaves you trotting where ever you can and cantering when it's good, especially when rougher terrain has made you walk. They also put you down harder trails than Novice/CP sometimes. Also, a lot of horses can complete one Open ride or two... But don't last the whole season.

Once you get Open, it's a lot of Arabs. Arabs do very well. We also have a lot of fox trotters, TWH, half arabs, morgans, lean QHs, and an odd appy. I've noticed it isn't so much breed as body type. Lean, lithe horses; built like greyhounds. A pretty fit bunch.

CTR is also a strategy game. You can beat a fitter horse if you plan better. Find a good place in the pack, a good way to make pace time (some horses do better with long trots and some with intermittent smaller ones), decide where to stop and how long, etc. Plan your ride so you'll be a couple minutes a head about two miles out from the vet check and walk in. Your less fit horse will pulse down better by walking in than a fitter horse will do by running in, if that makes sense.

So yeah. You can make most horses into CTR horses if you know your stuff.
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Last edited by Brighteyes; 07-29-2012 at 02:05 AM.
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post #13 of 44 Old 07-29-2012, 08:30 AM
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When people find out I am into endurance they all seem to think that every out of control, untrained, horse that likes to run off or fight to run when other horses are out in front will, "Make a good endurance horse". Even though they have never been to an endurance event and know absolutely nothing about the sport. Often these people tend to have some third hand knowledge of some odd breed that did well, Of course when I look up the results they are either non existent or the horse came in dead last once, Competitive trail is different than endurance and only a small percentage of your score actually comes from riding time. There are also lots of differnt rule sets, most of which I know nothing about so I cant really comment on.
Anything I say is based on Endurance and Limited distance events under AERC rules. While I am currently conditioning my second TN Walker for the fall season, I am under no delusions that she will ever be competitive. I am hoping I can make her into a consistent 50 mile finisher at least on the cooler rides. I am passively keeping my eyes open for an Arabian, or NSH, or Morab, WOuld consider a really special Anglo arab,
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post #14 of 44 Old 07-29-2012, 10:39 AM
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Yes - I agree with you Joe - you can do the miles on Tour de France with an off road bike, but you will not beat Lance on his customized racer.

And yes - some people still call it endurance racing when the more common term is 'endurance riding' - we don't race as much as we compete. So it tends to give folks the wrong idea when in fact our sport is the most organized and veterinary controlled that exists, I do believe! Last I read, Endurance is second in the world for horse sports with the most turn out (participants) at an event, with show jumping being first.

Bright Eyes you are so right about CTR - that is a fun sport that almost anyone can compete in, horse or rider! I did CTR for a long time in the 90's and strategy really does play a huge part since everyone has a set time to finish.

I enjoy horses that can do all of the above, some weekend camping, some dressage, and some of mine even get trained to cart. Now if I could only teach them to run errands at the store or pick up the kids............
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post #15 of 44 Old 07-29-2012, 12:06 PM
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I can attest to the fact that there are definitely some super chill Arabs out there. The barn owner where I ride has three purebred Arabs that she uses almost exclusively for her lesson program... and several of these lessons are for the beginningest beginners.

I'm sure you already know that to some extent though, given your experience with part bred Arabs.
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post #16 of 44 Old 07-29-2012, 10:52 PM Thread Starter
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So much great feedback! I am learning a lot. I think I am going to enjoy learning more about competitive trail riding and endurance riding. I like a challenge.

I spent the week looking at horses. It's been over 30 years since I "shopped" for a horse. It's addictive - lol. I saw a couple of quarter horses. I just don't think they're for me. One didn't want to get caught, and her feet were breaking up because it looked like her shoes had been on for 6 months. I saw a Tennessee Walker who was barn sour and a Missouri Fox Trotter who reared, bucked and wouldn't stand still to be mounted by the woman showing her to me. I asked a bunch of questions before going to see these horses, and they were all supposedly calm, reasonably well-trained horses. Quite the adventure!

I strongly favor mares over geldings, but at one of the places they also showed me a 1/2 Arab gelding. I really hesitated over him. He was rangy and lean. He moved right along, but wasn't crazy. Well behaved and about 7 years old. Seemed like a good candidate for me. I finally decided to keep looking, because I really do like mares better.

The one I liked best was a Rocky Mountain mare. She's not gaited, but was obedient, soft and not crazy. She had nice big feet and good legs. Just from our brief discussion here, it helped me to figure out that temperament was most important to me. I have to learn more about the different types of competitions. I like figuring things out, and I liked that she looked at obstacles and was willing to try. Driving home, I kept thinking how much fun it would be to go different places to ride and try different things.

Thanks everyone for your feedback. I'm sure I'll have more questions soon.

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post #17 of 44 Old 07-29-2012, 11:34 PM
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I'm glad you're having fun on your search for your new friend! Having just gone through that in January and thinking I wanted some traits but just wasn't sure what I wanted, I know just how you feel. My problem was that I passed over perfectly good candidates because of things that shouldn't have taken top priority and almost missed out on my beautiful boy. I just did NOT want a chestnut! But after looking at many, many horses, I just didn't feel that "click". I tried to talk myself into a few horses, but in the end just couldn't commit. Finally, I went back through the list of horses I'd passed over and decided it couldn't hurt to go look at this bug-eyed, giraffe of an Arabian (I wanted a more "sport horse" Arabian that looked at least half sane. Well, a few hours later, I couldn't get him off my mind and ended up taking him home two weeks later. What closed the deal? Just before I left, I was standing in front of his stall talking to someone, turned to look at him, and he was sticking his tongue out at me - and it wasn't just hanging out, it was pointed!! I just had to have him :)
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post #18 of 44 Old 07-30-2012, 01:06 AM
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I agree with Joe.. there are exceptions, but in the long haul, an Arabian is THE endurance prospect. It's difficult to argue with thousands of years of meticulous desert breeding where horses were wealth and status, yet put to the test as the best, strongest, and most desirable. Who would survive that but the most proven?
Not to even get into their weight-carrying ability, larger nares for respirations and cooling, and huge heart girth/chest, efficient hemodynamic regulation, as well as little need for water over long distances.
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Last edited by Druydess; 07-30-2012 at 01:09 AM.
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post #19 of 44 Old 07-31-2012, 07:31 PM
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My experience has been with registered Rocky Mountain Horses competing in judged obstacle trail rides. These gaited horses can also compete in endurance, but what I enjoyed was the challenge of teaching the horses how to perform at obstacles. They have basically good temperaments and will startle in place rather than spook or bolt. Also, they have the glide ride of an asynchronous 4-beat lateral gait that is comfortable and thrilling to experience. There are, of course, exceptions to this overall description.

Now, at age 76, I am retraining an experienced 15-year-old trail mare. She's a Kentucky Mountain horse with the above mentioned characteristics. My aim is just to have a safe, enjoyable mare (I also prefer them) to take on trails for pleasure. I'm using with great success the methods recorded by another owner of Mountain horses in her handbook Basic Training for a Safe Trail Horse, because I became interested in riding without a bit. This mare has responded quickly to big changes from how she was ridden from age 2 in ways I never expected after only 5 months of intermittent riding. I'm surprised at how she has happily adjusted to the easy methods described in this book, so keep this in mind when you too become an elderly rider!
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post #20 of 44 Old 08-02-2012, 12:40 AM
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Personally, I would love to find a smart, healthy, well conformed OTTB to endurance ride with. I love long trail rides, and Thoroughbreds are so athletic.

I honestly look forward to retraining and then conditioning. Talk about a challenge.
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Last edited by Joidigm; 08-02-2012 at 12:43 AM.
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