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Best breeds for endurance or competitive trail

This is a discussion on Best breeds for endurance or competitive trail within the Endurance Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category
  • Walking horses as endurance horses?
  • My endurance horse shys all the time

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    08-02-2012, 01:18 PM
  #21
Started
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joidigm    
I honestly look forward to retraining and then conditioning. Talk about a challenge.
I honestly look forward to gentling, training, and conditioning more of my own mustangs from scratch in the future. Maybe we're masochists, maybe we just enjoy the "journey" as much as the "destination".
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    08-02-2012, 10:45 PM
  #22
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe4d    
I am passively keeping my eyes open for an Arabian, or NSH, or Morab, WOuld consider a really special Anglo arab,
Well, geez, why didn't you say so? I have a pasture full or Arabians and Morabs that are SUPERB endurance candidates.
Eolith likes this.
     
    08-02-2012, 11:42 PM
  #23
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eolith    
I honestly look forward to gentling, training, and conditioning more of my own mustangs from scratch in the future. Maybe we're masochists, maybe we just enjoy the "journey" as much as the "destination".
Haha probably the punishment. I mean, journey.
     
    08-07-2012, 11:45 AM
  #24
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by jillybean19    
Forgive me if I say something that seems obvious - having given lessons for a while now, you never know what people will assume about horses :P


- I've been raised with quarter horses. Yes, quarter horses have been the quietest "just do it" horses I've worked with - but I've also had one that was out of cutting stock that was HOT HOT HOT, as many lines are bred to be. As others have said, it all depends on the horse, not necessarily the breed. And while quarter horses are quiet, their spooks are in quality and many, once the rare spook comes, loose it and it's hard to get them over it. My arab, who I LOVE on the trial, spooks or shys occasionally (which is HUGE because he used to set back at the squeak of a gate!), he's so smart and works through it now. Basically, if I say it's ok, he knows it's ok. So it just all depends.

As for endurance ability, I believe endurance news just ran an article about some of the regular 100-miler draft horses, and I know a few ladies that ride drafts on our rides as well as a few ponies! If a draft can do it, any breed can. And any horse, conditioned sufficiently, can complete an LD. However, NOT every horse can be competitive, and not every horse can complete the 50+ endurance rides. Traits in these horses include an efficient mover (with more forward movement rather than an "upward" movement - this depends on the shoulder), good conformation of course (particularly in the legs), and a general willingness and happiness to just keep going. Trust me, you don't want a happy horse for the first loop, who thinks the vet check means they're done, and then you still have 15-25 miles of fighting your pissed off horse after he realizes the vet check was NOT the end of the ride.


Some quarter horses will, others won't. Again, see how efficiently they move, particularly at a trot. If you have to push, push, push to get them into a working trot (approx 8-9mph), it's not going to be a fun ride for either of you. I.e., don't get a western pleasure jogger :P On the other hand, one girl I know has to hold her quarter horse back because she trots so fast I have to lope behind her (thus why I started riding on my own - this was not good for my horse). Starting out, though, you don't want to be going that fast because you'll ruin your horse. Build slowly but surely ;)


Going into endurance with this mindset is dangerous. Even if your horse can be competitive right off the bat, it's not necessarily the best to let them do so. You can really do some damage. It takes time to build the muscle, lungs, and eventually the bone density required to prevent sprains and stressed ligaments, worst case scenario hurt the bones. This can only come with time. I've been told it takes 3 years of regular endurance to build a 100-miler horse. Until then, just admire the people who've worked hard to get there.

The best advice I got was to treat actual rides like a really long conditioning session. Eventually you'll "accidentally" top 10. There are two kinds of riders - those that compete for miles and those that compete for placings. Usually, these are two different riders and don't mesh well. The people I've worked with that are very competitive only ride the rides they think they're going to win (based on terrain, time, who's competing, etc), and pass up all the others. They've also been doing this for years and years - most around here since the 80's and even 70's. Unfortunately, we had quite the scare at the last ride when one seasoned rider won the 50 two days in a row. Minutes after the final vet check on the second race, the horse went severely downhilll and was in danger of dying for the remainder of the day. And when you're in the middle of nowhere for a ride, you do not want to need a vet. The vets there do not have all the resources they'd normally have, and treating a horse is their worst case scenario. The guy almost lost his horse - and the same guy DID lose a horse a couple of years ago at a ride. Please don't become this kind of rider.

Want to be competitive right from the start? Compete for turtle (last place) - it's quite a nice ride when you're not stressed about everything else, including overriding your horse, and you still get a prize! Turtle can get pretty competitive, at least around here - one time a few riders hid off-trail and waited for a friend of theirs (who ALWAYS got turtle) to pass them - it was quite a shock at the award ceremony when she thought she'd gotten it again until they announced it!

As the AERC motto goes, "To finish is to win."


They can do LD's at 4 (based on actual birthday, not Jan 1); They can do endurance rides (50+) at 5. If you plan on doing the higher milage (like 100's), I'm told you want to wait until they're 9 or so to fully mature. It's a whole new ballgame when you start talking about "training" and how young is too young - I'll leave that debate to the training forum. But for beginning an endurance horse, I think 6 or 7 is about ideal for starting conditioning, but definitely no younger than 4 for LD conditioning (I personally think that is too young though, especially for Arabs who mature later) or 5 for endurance since that's the limits you have to follow anyway. I've seen horses into their early 20's competing on endurance rides, and a few in mid 20's doing LD's, but it all depends on how hard you've ridden your horse. If you've ridden hard, your horse will not last as long in life. I personally want to go for the decade team - at least one 50+ mile endurance ride with the same horse and rider for ten years in a row. I won't make it there if I'm shooting to win all the time.

Anyways, that's my 2 cents. My biggest fear is people getting into endurance and just going about it all on their own and then ruining or injuring their horses. This is one of the most extreme equine sports and we ask so much of our horses - everything has to be done with the horse's health as top priority. Once it stops being the priority, you move closer to loosing a horse at the ride. Above all, find a good mentor that has goals similar to you and has ridden for years - as in at least a decade. You can find people who've competed for much longer. Good luck :)
well said :)
     
    08-07-2012, 11:50 AM
  #25
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by clippityclop    
The very first competitive trail ride I entered, it was on my 8 yr old QH gelding and we won Novice Sweepstakes right out of the barrel. That was a blast, but there was one thing about him that made him a little more competitive than other QH's...he was narrow built, long and lean, more TB type. He had a deep chest, but he wasn't heavily muscled - in fact, he was more sinewy, lean and greyhound type, right at 15hh.

Any horse can do distance, but heavier muscled types are not good radiators and can't get cooled down. Now like others said, if you don't mind competing in rear of the group (maybe even for the coveted turtle award) then that's fine.

I have an Arab who is dead quiet but incredibly smart. He reminds me of a rattlesnake - sits and watches and learns. Sometimes things scare him, but I would never consider him hot by any means. So I consider that the best of both worlds - the arab genes for distance, and the brains to keep us safer.

My walker (who has a LOVELY 8 mph trot -yes, I said trot!) is a hot hot hot type - 14.3hh - but because of his competitive spirit and drive (he is also very lean built and greyhound like) he does SUPERB at vet checks because he's always giving everyone sass and the vets always give us A+'s for his obvious relentless energy to continue.

You sound like you might enjoy a 'jack of all trades' type horse that can compete in anything you point his nose to and will behave enough that you can actually enjoy it. I think any breed can fill that job!

Can I recommed a couple of good books to you if you are considering distance riding? Check out 'Go the Distance' by Nancy Loving and then 'The Complete Guide to Endurance Riding and Competition' by Donna Snyder-Smith - they have details on attitude/body type/how the horse was raised/ etc when choosing a distance horse. Just a little tid-bit (off topic a bit) of info for you if you ever find yourself down that bunny trail.

Good luck!

What kind heart rates do you get with your walker?
     
    08-07-2012, 01:15 PM
  #26
Green Broke
Just started working with Emma, she is bigger stronger faster, and has lots of surface blood vessels, hoping this translates into better heat management. We shall see, I just started working her, but she seems awful slow pulsing down even when she doesn treally seem tired. Going to keep on her this winter see how it goes. But may end up with an arabian soon.
     
    08-07-2012, 02:56 PM
  #27
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by usdivers    
What kind heart rates do you get with your walker?

After 6-8 months of conditioning for LD, he can hold a mile canter not peaking over 135 bpm during the canter and after a 15 mile ride at a good 6-8 mph, he will pulse down to 60 within five minutes of slowing to a walk, and is at 56 by the time we hit the first vet check...that's pretty much his 'staying' power that he holds all day...of course, we trot and rarely canter. (Yes, trot - even tho he is a walking horses..LOL!).

We were doing pretty good and placing in the mid to upper 20's of the pack (pack being 60+ riders) at this rate. Not a first place contender, but with work, maybe a top 10 at some point.
     
    08-07-2012, 03:01 PM
  #28
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eolith    
enjoy the "journey" as much as the "destination".

Hey...I think I saw that on a Tshirt at Zazzle or something..LOL!
     
    08-07-2012, 03:25 PM
  #29
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by clippityclop    
After 6-8 months of conditioning for LD, he can hold a mile canter not peaking over 135 bpm during the canter and after a 15 mile ride at a good 6-8 mph, he will pulse down to 60 within five minutes of slowing to a walk, and is at 56 by the time we hit the first vet check...that's pretty much his 'staying' power that he holds all day...of course, we trot and rarely canter. (Yes, trot - even tho he is a walking horses..LOL!).

We were doing pretty good and placing in the mid to upper 20's of the pack (pack being 60+ riders) at this rate. Not a first place contender, but with work, maybe a top 10 at some point.
I wonder if that is the key. The trot. The rack or running walk may use a lot more energy.
     
    08-07-2012, 03:31 PM
  #30
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by Celeste    
I wonder if that is the key. The trot. The rack or running walk may use a lot more energy.
When my guy trots, it usually is a mistake :)...he is most happy when he is doing the running walk.
     

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