Well, I am probably no help, because I am technologically challenged, and gadgets hate me, and refuse to work....I cannot even make a hand-held heart rate moniter work!!! So I have developed the fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants method, and i am pretty good at it. I have about 1000 combined Endurance and LD miles, and my horses have more, because I loan them out to friends whose horses go lame. (not bragging, just wanted you to know I am not a newby- know it all)
My first ride was in 1998, and I remember the scary first ride, am I ready feeling!!! I did a couple of 25's, and was scared to move up, but you know what got me off my duff? I was at a ride with a 4 yo mare, her first ride, and I saw this woman fall off her horse while he was standing still. Really. Then later we met up out on the trail, and she was sick, and needed help getting back on, but finished. Then a couple of months later, I saw SHE had finished a 50!!!! Got me right off my duff, and I entered, and finished.Peer pressure???!!