Endurance Journey Thread - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 112 Old 12-31-2013, 05:09 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Pacific NW
Posts: 1,320
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Back from another ride! We did the same trail as yesterday, except backwards and with a few extra loops within the state park. The results are.... interesting haha. While I trotted as much as possible (with the exception of a walking warm up and cool down), there are still a lot of short walking breaks like when we cross the road and we took a number of stopping breaks for various reasons. These included: getting dumped toward the beginning of the ride on a rare spook, socialization break when Flash was nervous about a lady working in her yard but then we ended up talking for a bit, a water and snack break at the state park (the only planned break), and a "find-and-put-back-on the missing boot" break (luckily someone pointed me in the right direction as soon as I realized I was missing it). In total, we spend about 1/3 of our ride on breaks. Which is fine, especially since we ended up going a little further than I'd wanted to. I did learn some valuable things today, including that Flash's slower trot is around 6-8 mph (usually closer to 6), but his faster trot is closer to 9-10 mph (he doesn't really extend, but he sure moves those feet!). Today I let him pick the speed as long as he was trotting, but it's nice to know he's got a bit of speed in there for when I start asking for it. That won't be for a while and I'd like to keep him closer to 7-8 mph for now, though. Even more importantly, however, my confidence in Flash during a spook situation grew a TON today when I fell off. We were on a bridle path along a major road. Unfortunately, the city has not done a very great job with these paths, so this particular one didn't have a fence between us and the road. Luckily, though, it was on one of the wider paths so I didn't hit anything on the way down. I did a valiant job of trying to hang on to the reins but had to let go and hit the ground on my thigh (I've got a pretty good battle wound from it and I'm sure it'll look quite lovely once it starts to bruise). Flash went loping down the path about 50 feet and I was praying he didn't go across the street in front of us or take off into the street beside us, but then he stopped and looked back at me and waited until I caught up. What a good boy! There was a backhoe off to the left that may have spooked him but I'm not sure - either way, they nice gentleman that saw my riderless horse yelled at the operator to stop and they waited until I gave them the thumbs up to start working again. I have a lot more confidence now that he won't take off in a situation like that in the middle of an endurance ride. Funny enough, right before it happened I was thinking about a thread I read yesterday on the AERC Facebook page discussing horses getting lost on rides when they lose their riders and how important it is for them to learn to stop. I guess we've got that taken care of now!

Distance: 11.5 miles
Total time: 3 hrs 8 mins
Moving time: 2 hrs 11 mins
Moving average: 5.3 mph
Overall average: 3.65 mph
Max speed: 17 mph
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post #12 of 112 Old 01-01-2014, 04:12 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: NE Pa
Posts: 3,797
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I am heading into my 8th season of endurance riding. While I have done some other disciplines along the way (gaming, hunters, jumpers, eventing, dressage, flat racing, harness racing), I found my niche on the trail and haven't looked back. I thought I was super lucky to have found my ideal equine partner.. then I really won the jackpot and found a human one who also does endurance!

We have 4 horses, all arabians.

I have been competing with Dream, a 2000 model mare, since I started endurance. I am so incredibly lucky to be blessed with such a level-headed, willing, talented partner. I actually first saw her as an embryo under a microscope at a breeding farm I worked for years ago.. never would have known at the time she would come back into my life. But since reconnecting, we have never looked back. She has carried me countless miles, down all sorts of trails. 2013 was a tough one for us, as she had several injuries that sidelined us the majority of the season.

Here we are during the Ride Between the Rivers (WV):

Sultan, a 1999 model gelding, is my DH's main horse. He is generally a laid-back kind of guy, though is the troublemaker of our herd. He likes to show off, will do anything for a cookie, and is a big ham in front of a camera. We had some saddle issues with him, but seem to have got that figured out. 2013 was his best season yet, finishing his first 100 miler and getting his OD Triple Crown for the second time.

Here we are during the Lick Ridge Challenge (PA):

George, also a 1999 model gelding, is Sultan's 3/4 brother. They were born 2 weeks apart and have been together literally their entire lives. My DH went to buy Sultan and was told it was both boys or none. He didn't know what a favor that breeder did for him! George is the boss of our herd. He has a mischievous streak that can make him a bit of a spook if you aren't paying attention, and he particularly likes to antagonize my DH that way. 2013 was fantastic for him, with his first 100 mile completion (the last 18 miles of which he was wearing no girth) and several top 10 finishes.

Here we are, along with DH on Sultan and a friend on her youngster, at Mustang Memorial (NJ):

Gamer, a 2007 model mare, is the newest addition to our herd. I was lucky enough to be present at her birth (her mom is Dream's half-sister):

She came back into my life last spring. While we def have some past to overcome, she is intelligent and interested and VERY food-motivated! She was basically feral when I got her, so we have been doing a lot of work on the basics. I hope to get her going well under saddle and out on trail seriously this year. If the universe is kind, we hope to get to some CTRs and LDs this season.

Second "trail" ride:

There is no joy equal to that found on the back of a horse.
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post #13 of 112 Old 01-01-2014, 04:18 PM
Green Broke
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: NE Pa
Posts: 3,797
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Jilly, very glad to hear you are not any worse off for your unexpected dismount, and very cool that he stopped on his own and waited!! I think that is everyone's nightmare.. bad enough to come off, but then to see your horse disappear into the distance (or into the road, etc).

DH and Sultan and Dream and I got out for our first ride of the New Year today:

Its hunting season (muzzle loader) and we had some friends out hunting, so DH and I actually spent some time intentionally crashing around in the woods trying to spook deer. Ironically, this was the first ride in as long as I can remember that I didn't see a single one!!

Upon returning home, it was that magic day for Dream - FREEDOM!! [For those who don't know, she has been rehabbing from an injury since August and been either stalled or in a very small paddock since it happened.]

As I had hoped, having her out for a ride before turning her loose kept her from acting like an idiot. After our normal post-ride cookie stretches, she simply moseyed away and started grazing. WOOHOO!!

2014 mileage
1/01/14 dream 5.48 miles 4.7 mph 5.48 total miles

There is no joy equal to that found on the back of a horse.
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post #14 of 112 Old 01-02-2014, 11:43 AM
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Ste-Agathe, Quebec
Posts: 948
• Horses: 3
I've been on the endurance/CTR scene since 2007, as volunteer, organizer, and did my lay-judge training.

We have 4 horses at home, 3 of them are arabians. Two of them I train in distance riding. I've done LD's in 2009-2010 with my mare, but I've trained every year "as if" I was going to compete, even when health and family matters got in the way of actual competition.

My mare Alizé is a 2000 model as well and has been my partner in adventure since 2001.
I'm training towards at least one LD 25 this year and a 50 the year after. It's really the training that I like, having a goal, a plan to condition, logging the miles and seeing the results both physical and in our relationship.

Then I ride Eole, 12yo and had him as a colt. He is fairly green in every aspect and I have to put a lot of time in this boy if we want to go anywhere. He's absolutely perfect in size-hooves-conformation. It's the attitude I'm still unsure, a little too unpredictable. Time will tell.
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post #15 of 112 Old 01-02-2014, 06:30 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: NE Pa
Posts: 3,797
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Got Dream out again this morning, before the storm started. I figure any miles are better than no miles as I start bringing her back into work. Trying to get her up hills where I can, but unfortunately the best hills in the area are sheets of ice currently, so not safe to ride on.

Weather is going to be miserable for the next week or so.. snow tonight, then horrendously cold (highs in the single digits), then more snow coming Sunday/Monday followed by more single-digit weather on Tues/Wed. I will actually be happy to be at work and inside!!

2014 mileage
1/01/14 dream 5.48 miles 4.7 mph 5.48 total miles
1/02/14 dream 5.07 miles 5.7 mph 10.55 total miles

There is no joy equal to that found on the back of a horse.
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post #16 of 112 Old 01-03-2014, 08:37 PM
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: CA
Posts: 269
• Horses: 1
May I join in this thread?

My horse, Lia, is a 1995 Arab mare and my first horse. We both really like trail riding, so when I learned about endurance riding I knew I wanted to try it with her. Since she's older, I plan to just try some LDs, but I'm sure it will be loads of fun for us. :) We just started really conditioning this month; I don't have a truck and trailer yet, but I have a few friends who have started hauling me out and might even be able to take me to rides later in the season.

We rode about 12 miles on the 1st, and though Lia was uncharacteristically jiggy, it was good to get out on the trails and get a feel for where we'll be doing most of our real conditioning. She was a little back sore after this, probably from being tense, so after having yesterday completely off, I did some light ground work with her today. We did some light lunging in the round pen for about 20 minutes just to get her to stretch out a bit, and then a 30 minute trail walk plus practicing staying calm while her buddy ditches her, haha. She did pretty well. It was good to just have a calm session focusing on listening and all that good stuff. When we got home, we did some leg stretches, "carrot stretches", and practiced her tricks (paw and smile). Her back seems to be normal now, so I plan to hit the arena tomorrow. All in all it was a good day!
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post #17 of 112 Old 01-04-2014, 11:23 AM
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Maryland
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TrailDust---I don't see why not...after all, endurance is about doing distance as a team. Plus, if your anything like the rest of us you'll be hooked after your first ride

I am definitely a newbie when it comes to competing endurance myself, but I've been involved in the endurance crowd fairly heavily the past few years and have loved every minute of it.

I did my first 15 mile CTR on my Morgan/QH in 2011. I raised Brimstone's Tazmanian Devil (aka Taz) out of my QH mare and took him to college with me the year I left home. He was my rock. Shortly after our ride I decided to sell him because I was convinced I needed an Arab to do endurance. If I had known what I do now I would have never sold him, but tis life.

Attachment 346650

In the process of selling Taz I found Magnific AF (aka Maglet). I came across a Craigslist ad with a gorgeous 4 year old Arabian gelding who was looking for a home due to his owner's health issues. I later found out that his owner had Lupis and was downsizing her herd. I traded a saddle for him and was tickled that I had just scooped up my dream endurance horse. After a year and a half of consistent groundwork, desensitizing, and training I realized that Mag was not the horse I had hoped for. I was scarred emotionally and physically after many accidents and my confidence was shot. After being thrown into fences, trampled, flipped over on, (the list goes on and on...) I was afraid that he would put me in a wheelchair for the rest of my life. I decided to sell him to someone who could "start fresh" with him and who had better resources to work with him over time. It hurt to have to sell another horse in such a short period of time but I learned a valuable lesson about how to accept defeat and be content about my decision for my own safety.


That same summer I had an awesome opportunity to work for Dian Woodward and Christoph Schork in Moab, Utah at Global Endurance Training Center. I spent close to 2 months out in the desert riding endurance horses and crewing at rides, even getting the opportunity to crew for Christoph and his friends at Tevis Cup in 2012. Dian taught me a lot about breeding, genetics, feeding, etc and even let me cover one of her mares with their stallion before I left (what a rush!). Christoph taught me a lot about trimming and booting, so much in fact that I now trim and boot my own horses with confidence. There are too many memories and friendships that I made out there to describe in a short story, but all I can say is that I would go back in a heartbeat.

Riding along the ridge (Moab, Utah)

Road Trip!

Christoph teaching me to glue on Easyboots

Scribing for the vets

Crewing at Tevis

Christoph & Dian

After selling Mag I took my time searching for my next endurance partner. My confidence was boosted by my trip to Moab, riding some pretty hot and unpredictable horses helped me find my fire again I searched and searched and turned down SO many horses it was depressing. At the near end of my search, just when I was about to give up, I found Selena. Now, if you couldn't tell by my previous horses, I am really not a mare person...but there was just something about Selena that told me she was the one. She was sassy and didn't trust anyone...unless you had food...then she would be sweet enough to come get it from you and then run I bought this little mare for $800 and prayed that I wasn't making a mistake. The day I went to get her it took us over 2 hours to get her on the trailer...eventually having to blindfold her to get her loaded...dear lord The first few months were a little rocky for us, she had to learn to trust me and I the same. After our initially bond I have never felt unsafe with her...she is solid, kind, loyal, and oh so forgiving. I took her to our first 15 mile CTR together in April (the same one I did with Taz) and she surprised me by taking 2nd place with a score of 97/100! Our second 15 mile CTR in June she took home 1st place with an almost perfect score of 99/100. I cried and cried and cried out of pure happiness. Yes, I know only 15 miles...but to me it was so much more than that...it was conformation that I had found my partner. We then attempted our first LD in October and Selena once again took my breath away and placed 1st out of 20 riders with a time of 3 hours and 38 minutes. Words can't describe how much I love this mare. The saddest part is that about a month ago I found out about her past from her original owner/breeder. Turns out she was starved almost to death and beaten consistently both over jumps and in her daily environment. Her owner states that she came off the trailer back to her home as a rack of bones with swollen welts all over her body from being whipped. I cried that day too...how could this mare ever be a part of something so awful, yet have the courage to forgive and trust a complete stranger? Horses are amazing...and Selena was truly a diamond in the rough for which I am grateful to have found. Last year we covered 468.09 trail miles and this year I hope to do the same. Hoping to do a couple more LDs and then maybe attempting a slow 50...then I can call myself a true endurance rider


This is my newest edition to my endurance addiction...my 3 month old filly Velencia (aka Vee). She was bred by my uncle and grandmother who live in KY and I'm headed to pick her up in March! Trying not to jinx myself...but I'm hoping she might be my future Tevis horse
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post #18 of 112 Old 01-09-2014, 08:17 PM
Green Broke
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: NE Pa
Posts: 3,797
• Horses: 4
Weather finally cooperated to be able to get out. Ground is still frozen solid though, as temps still haven't gotten above freezing. Rather scary when 27F seems warm (but I guess compared to -50F, it is)!

Decided to see if I could keep boots on, to give Dream a bit of help in terms of the footing. She tolerated the application of the boots with her normal stoicism, but she certainly looked bemused.

And yes, those are 2 diff types of boots.. they are my old and my new spare tires.

It's still hunting season here (muzzle loader and archery), so I stuck to places that I was pretty sure wouldn't have people lurking in them. Also tried to avoid places I knew would be skating rinks (and with all the rain we had before the polar vortex, there were a lot of icy places).

More snow is due tonight, then temps rise and more rain is coming.. so no idea when I will be able to get out next. In theory, Sunday is supposed to be dry...

2014 mileage
01/01/13 dream 5.48 miles 4.7 mph 5.48 total miles
01/02/13 dream 5.07 miles 5.7 mph 10.55 total miles
01/09/14 dream 6.04 miles 4.7 mph 16.59 total miles

There is no joy equal to that found on the back of a horse.
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post #19 of 112 Old 01-10-2014, 12:49 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: NE Pa
Posts: 3,797
• Horses: 4
Got some horsey time this morning, though have to say it wasn't anything like I had anticipated!

We got some snow overnight and are in danger of getting freezing rain later, so I went out to the barn as soon as the snow stopped. I had JUST put Dream into the crossties when what sounded like an invasion of large trucks came up the driveway.. surprise! The power company is trimming trees today! Luckily Dream couldn't have cared less, despite the variety of strange, often loud sounds coming from literally right on the other side of the door.

The power company people were much more interested in Dream as we went riding by than she was with them!

Got a bit from the house and realized that even though there wasn't much snow at all, it was enough to be slippery as hell. Looked very pretty, but even the flat grassy sections had Dream slithering all over the place.

Decided that it wasn't worth getting hurt, so turned around and came home via the paved road. Not the ride I had hoped for, but better than nothing I guess. The power company was still in the driveway cutting trees when we returned, so I decided it would be a good learning opportunity for Gamer.

The herd was as far away from the horse-eating machinery as possible, of course, so I had plenty of room to do some groundwork in the pasture. Gamer was a bit concerned at first - esp the first time the chipper turned on - but she settled down nicely and was soon ignoring them.

She even finished up with some liberty work - heading right AT the truck! [Forgive the horrible video.. as you can see I am much better at getting things in frame when they are in front of me, not jogging beside me! ]

Gamer 1-10-14 - YouTube

Overall, not a bad way to spend the morning.

2014 mileage
01/01/13 dream 5.48 miles 4.7 mph 5.48 total miles
01/02/13 dream 5.07 miles 5.7 mph 10.55 total miles
01/09/14 dream 6.04 miles 4.7 mph 16.59 total miles
01/10/14 dream 2.51 miles 3.8 mph 19.1 total miles
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There is no joy equal to that found on the back of a horse.
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post #20 of 112 Old 01-14-2014, 09:55 AM
Green Broke
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: NE Pa
Posts: 3,797
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Got Dream out for a ride yesterday. The wind had helped dry things up a bit, but the footing for the most part was still sloppy. I figured if we were going to be walking, we may as well be walking uphill.

Headed over to some trails I haven't been on since last season. This was the same area they had been logging, so the trails had been a big mess last I was there. However, the logging is done and I am guessing hunters wanting to use ATVs had gotten the trails cleared of the scrap downed trees, etc. The footing is much rockier than it used to be from the soil being so disturbed, but I had booted Dream expecting that.

Despite having had success keeping the boots on during previous rides, I did lose one this ride. Poor boot didn't stand a chance when Dream, in a sudden burst of excitement, asked to move out going up the climb the second time and I let her.. the cantering wasn't so much the issue as the crow hopping in terms of the boot staying put. When I went to replace it, I realized a screw had come out totally. I put it back on anyway and amazingly, it stayed in place for the 3 miles home!

Should just need another screw and washer and be as good as new. And only 3 weeks till the farrier comes and everyone gets shod!!

It's raining yet again today, so won't be riding. Have Thursday off, so hoping the weather cooperates (though right now it's supposed to snow, so doesn't sound very promising at all)..

2014 mileage
01/09/14 dream 6.04 miles 4.7 mph 16.59 total miles
01/10/14 dream 2.51 miles 3.8 mph 19.10 total miles
01/13/14 dream 10.03 miles 5.0 mph 29.13 total miles

There is no joy equal to that found on the back of a horse.
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