My mare Dory and I just completed our first 25 LD Endurance ride yesterday! It was an AERC/FEI 25, 50, 75, 100 event. Very interesting to get to see the different groups! It was a major success and a ton of fun! I'm excited so prepare for a wall of text!
I wasn't able to get the full experience of camping out in the night since we were local to the ride, but I was able to attend the pre-ride meeting the evening before and learned a good amount of things about the ride. Was a good experienced and got to meet some neat people!
Eaaarly in the morning me and a VERY helpful gentleman (who not only transported my horse to and from the ride, but helped me out during the ride- very thankful!) trailered out to the ride. Up arrival my mare was HOT. The stereotypical Arabian came out for show and honestly, it was quite unnerving. She was a bit a hand full on the ground and very amped up. Fortunately after walking her around, remaining calm, putting a rope halter on her and making her LISTEN to me, she settled down nicely and became Normal-Dory instead of Fiery-Dory.
Did a vet check, got tacked up, hopped on, and we started. Fortunately, most of the 25 mile riders (7 out of the 8) started together and slow so all horses were happy and manageable.
I made it a habit to ride my own race. 2.5 miles after the start and when my mare was really in-tuned to me, I let the faster group go ahead and set the pace at the trot we've been practicing for. I was very happy that my mare didn't feel the need to speed up too much faster than what we were used too! For much of the time I was riding alone which is fine by me- I feel that I ride better that way. Every now and then the faster group would slow and I would catch up and chat. Then they would take off again and I would keep Dory at our set speed. Nice to know she doesn't get upset with other horses passing or taking off in front of her!
The only thing that upset her during the ride is... cattle! We were on a working cow ranch and crossed a couple of herds... I found out that this is NOT cow horse- ha! Another issue we had was drinking! She will eat the world but would not drink strange water. I had to mix water with a bit of her grain for flavor to get her to drink. We need to work on this! Next time I will bring a few gallons of home water.
She did wonderful at the vet check and pulsed down almost immediately after arriving back to base camp. All A's. After our hold time she was a bit confused about going back out but didn't give me too much trouble.
Towards the end, I caught up to the fast group. My mare had plenty of reserve left so we cantered with the others (which was great fun!), stopped to walk before entering base camp, and undid her girth. She looked great and, upon recommendation of the very helpful gentlemen, I went straight to the vet.
I am very happy to say, even after cantering with the group, my mare pulsed down nearly immediately after entering base camp. She got A's on everything except gut sound (she got a B). It was not my goal at all to "race"- Only to finish- but we did end up first so I won't be complaining!
Afterwards my Dory was tired and calm, but still alert. This morning she's back to her normal self. Bright eyed and seeking attention. I'm finding no sore spots, eating, drinking, peeing, pooing all normal.
Happy healthy horse, so it has been a successful ride! Next month we are aiming for a small hunter/jumper show and a clinic. Then I must concentrate on moving, but hopefully soon we can attend another Endurance ride! Had TONS of fun.