Getting into Endurance
   

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Getting into Endurance

This is a discussion on Getting into Endurance within the Endurance Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category
  • what gps watch for endurance riding
  • Can an unfit horse go on 32 km endurance ride

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    07-22-2012, 11:52 AM
  #1
Weanling
Getting into Endurance

Hi, so I'm thinking of getting myself and Alli to some endurance competitions and was wondering what kind of times different levels of competition are run at.

Naturally I'm going to start with some fun rides before I take the leap into competitive, but endurance fitness needs building up so I want to know what kind of times to be aiming for. What times are you getting in the shorter races, like 16, 20 and 32km (10, 12 and 20 miles)? What kind of pace is this going at?

I am a total newbie to endurance, but it sounds like me and Alli could be really good at it. She never tires and I love being in the saddle! Where I am, its nearly all road work so how can I fitten Alli so she can trot/canter long distances, when all I can do is ride roads, without causing injury to her? So far the furthest we've been is 7miles (I know, I know we're not going not that far yet ) and we did it easily in 1hr 15- probs 50-60% of the distance walking, hardly pushing for a fast ride at all. She was hardly tired at all by the end and I reccon we could do it in 50ish mins if we trot all the places we can.

So, yeah. Fittening tips and what times should I be aiming for?
     
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    07-22-2012, 02:25 PM
  #2
Green Broke
Finishers need to be moving about 6 miles an hour, winners will be moving 12 plus.
     
    07-28-2012, 12:05 PM
  #3
Yearling
Go to the AERC homepage and read everything you can find. There are great articles and info to read. I also agree with what Joe said in his post - he made it short and sweet!

There are intro rides at rides - they don't count but there is still an entry fee and they are usually only 12 miles or so. Other than that, the next smallest distance is what is called 'limited distance' and it is a 25 miler.

Read up at AERC's website on LD and that would give you a GREAT place to start. Unless you have a phenomenal horse or have previously done distance riding yourself, LD is the starting point to work on.

The famed TEVIS (western states trail ride) is coming up - look that up and read up on it - that is the hardest endurance ride in the U.S. - you can look up AERC sanctioned rides in your area (from the AERC site) and maybe pop in on one and check it out!

Read up on 'Going the Distance' and the 'Complete guide to endurance riding and competition' for tips/training/and all the quirks - tips - tricks.
Good luck!

Another short and sweet tip - if you've never done distance , more importantly if your horse has never done any type of distance ride, plan on riding at least three times a week (min of 1 hr each) for the first 4-6 months before entering an LD. That is a very basic and safe timeframe for your first ride. And read - read - read up...
     
    07-28-2012, 08:43 PM
  #4
Started
OP- please tell me to bug off if this hijacking bothers you!

I was hoping to piggyback off the OP's questions. CC- you say three 1 hour rides a week as a very basic starting point. Is there a recommended speed to go with that? My pony and I walked about 23 miles one afternoon up at Bandera in March, and had no issues- is it just adding speed as a factor into the conditioning plan now, or should I reduce the distance back down when I do that?

I kinda get the idea of long, slow distance, but we gotta go a little faster than a wander down the trail, right?
     
    07-29-2012, 10:02 AM
  #5
Green Broke
23 miles ? How did you measure that. The first lesson I learned when I got into endurance was that every single trail out there is greatly overestimated. When I did my first 25 mile LD, my friends tld me it woul dbe easy and they do that all the time, yeh I soon found out why they thought that. Advertised trail rides of 18 miles tended to be about 12. So you really need a good gps or some other verified method of measuring distance other than hearsay. That pony of yours is probably doing good to be making 3 miles an hour. So I doubt you did a leisurely afternoon stroll of 23 miles.
     
    07-29-2012, 10:56 AM
  #6
Yearling
BANDERA BANDERA I love that place --- it is 4 hours from me - I have friends there that practically have the whole place as their backyard no fair...

The trail maps are fairly accurate (if you were using theirs) since I know those ladies/gents actually ride their trails with a GPS. That is a great place to train because of all the different types of terrain and switchbacks...try trail 4a/b sometime - go up, but coming back DOWN will scare you to death!

I usually start around with trying to ride three times a week, and ride at least 5-6 miles each time (that equals 5/6 mph). I use the Garmin 300 (comes with heartmonitor) and bought the kit that turns it into a horse hearmonitor, and then I can watch his heart rate, see my mph and distance on my wrist. Piece of cake.

I try to keep his heart rate around 135ish for the first couple of weeks, until it seems like he go farther without it going up, then I just double my time on the trail, but not the speed and watch the heartrate again. After a month or more of this, then I increase the speed a bit (mostly fast trotting) for those 3x week rides, with the overall mileage being around 20-25 miles a week.

Then I just do that over and over for another few weeks or so then I add a 20 mile ride on the weekend here and there (trying to finish in 4 hours or so). By now, at least 4 months have passed and as long as he can hold a nice 6 mph with his heart rate holding at 135 while he's doing it, you can do a 25 LD no problem.

But then I'll start another horse the next season and he may/may not work out with this program - he may be very unfit and it takes us 6 months to train, or he may be so fit that we up our trotting to 8 mph and follow the same program.

Either way, don't even plan on going super fast the first season - plan on the entire first year for building tendons and ligaments because that's how long it takes, even tho your horse can be cardio fit in 3 months. You'll end up with injuries that will sideline you for months if you don't heed my words!

Keep riding thru the winter, slowly increasing speed and mileage and then you can go for the top 10 the next spring in LD...

My plan is very plain - others have much more elaborate training tips they can offer - mine is what it is because I have to work around kids/family/farm etc.

Do you have heartrate monitor for your horse? It helps to have one in the state natural area - I have backtracked with my GPS many a time - it saved my butt! LOL! Plus - if you like Geocaching there are quite a few geochaches hidden there that are only accessible by horseback - it will give you a goal so you don't get tired/bored too quickly.

Geocaching.com

People hide stuff and leave coordinates to find it - it is usually a bucket with trinkets of stuff to trade - LOADS of fun!
     
    07-29-2012, 03:42 PM
  #7
Started
Joe- couldn't guarantee it was 23 three, just going off what others said, though as CC mentioned, that particular park is very well mapped out. Still, even if it was only 11.5 miles, we still did pretty good considering the complete pasture puff my boy was in October. :)

Did 10 miles today (according to google maps) but slow, mostly just walking. I like plain, easy to follow plans. Still need to buy a trailer since our only 'trail' is 5 miles and I get bored easily. Sounds like it's time for us to start adding a little speed into it since he does our short distances with little effort any more.
     
    07-29-2012, 06:22 PM
  #8
Yearling
All the above, plus one important piece: Volunteer at a ride. You will learn 10x as much from volunteering in one ride than riding in many. Listen to what the other, more seasoned volunteers are saying about the riders and just in general talking about. Listen to what the vet tells the riders. Better yet, scribe for a vet and you'll find out how he's scoring them, including for BC! Just do it - you won't regret it. Plus, you'll find who to (and who NOT to!) listen to and ride with as a mentor. Volunteering first was the best advice I got, and I was given it over and over again by many seasoned riders when I was starting out. Click the link to read about how my experience went ;)

Volunteering at a ride (Tough Sucker II)
AnitaAnne likes this.
     
    07-29-2012, 06:24 PM
  #9
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe4d    
23 miles ? How did you measure that. The first lesson I learned when I got into endurance was that every single trail out there is greatly overestimated. When I did my first 25 mile LD, my friends tld me it woul dbe easy and they do that all the time, yeh I soon found out why they thought that. Advertised trail rides of 18 miles tended to be about 12. So you really need a good gps or some other verified method of measuring distance other than hearsay. That pony of yours is probably doing good to be making 3 miles an hour. So I doubt you did a leisurely afternoon stroll of 23 miles.
BTW - when taking a GPS to record your ride miles, add 10-20% of the recorded distance to account for elevation change. All our rides have come up short, but once we added that amount based on how much climbing we did, they generally came out to the distance they said.
     
    07-29-2012, 08:12 PM
  #10
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by OwnedByAlli    

Naturally I'm going to start with some fun rides before I take the leap into competitive, but endurance fitness needs building up so I want to know what kind of times to be aiming for. What times are you getting in the shorter races, like 16, 20 and 32km (10, 12 and 20 miles)? What kind of pace is this going at?
I am not sure that any of our information in terms of specific times is going to be any help for you, if you are actually in the UK as your profile says. Endurance in the US is run by AERC, which is a whole different animal that FEI endurance. I know in Europe any 'endurance' is FEI, not totally sure if the UK is the same. But if it is, you would do best to contact someone locally about all the specifics.

Certainly the idea of doing long, slow distance and building up a base is universal.. but for us in the US, we don't have to do all the qualifying up in distance at specific times, etc that I think you need to do across the pond.
     

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