Getting Started with Endurance Riding: Questions! - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 08-15-2013, 10:55 PM Thread Starter
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Getting Started with Endurance Riding: Questions!

I am not a stranger to riding or training, but I have never done Endurance Riding professionally and I am not sure where to start.

I have a 5 year old mustang that is in training and I think he might make a mighty fine endurance prospect, but I have no idea where to start doing this sort of thing professionally.

Raylan (the mustang) is being started on trails in the next week or so (been doing arena riding thus far) and I don't imagine it is going to be too hard for him.
I plan on working him up and down hills - walking for muscle build up and sprint/walk for exercising lung capacity.

Is there anything that I could be missing or lacking focus on as I start this endeavor?

Also, I am open to buying a light weight saddle if I need to, but has anyone competed or done a long distance ride without a saddle? I am a fan of bareback and have done several long rides sans a saddle.

I really feel like such a newbie when it comes to this topic!

Any feedback, help, resource linking would be greatly appreciated andthank you all in advance!
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post #2 of 7 Old 08-15-2013, 11:14 PM
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What do you mean by professionally? Usually when someone says they're trying to do something professionally it means as their primary source of income.

Google search for endurance groups near you. You should be able to find a mentor who can explain the rules and maybe even give your horse a look and give suggestions.

You cannot compete bareback so if you're going to try to enter endurance rides, be prepared for that. It also is not really in the best interest for you or your horse - imagine trying to do a 100 miler without a saddle.
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post #3 of 7 Old 08-16-2013, 06:23 AM
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Part of the art of endurance is keeping your horse in good shape during the ride. That means saving his back whenever possible. The first 25 mile ride I did my feet were killing me afterward. However, my gelding wasn't sore in the back one bit.
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post #4 of 7 Old 08-16-2013, 09:24 AM
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Originally Posted by srcosticov View Post
Also, I am open to buying a light weight saddle if I need to, but has anyone competed or done a long distance ride without a saddle? I am a fan of bareback and have done several long rides sans a saddle.

While I don't believe a saddle is a requirement in terms of AERC rules, a lot of ride managers specify no bareback riding allowed, so you would have to check into your local events to see what the requirements are.

I have see one woman complete a 75 mile ride using only a bareback pad and both she and her horse looked great.. but I would say it is def the exception not the rule!!

You said you have done several "long rides" without a saddle.. can you define what you mean by that a bit more? Long in terms of time? In terms of mileage?

I have done conditioning rides a couple times with no saddle (the man I was riding for, who brought the horse and equipment, had forgotten the girth ), and let me tell you, 10 miles was more than enough to get my body screaming--can't imagine doing it for 50!! I guess if you ride that way all the time your body may adapt better, but I would wonder how your horse's back was going to hold up without having something helping to distribute your weight.

There is no joy equal to that found on the back of a horse.
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post #5 of 7 Old 08-16-2013, 01:52 PM
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If you are set on riding bareback because of the freedom of movement, you could compromise with well made treeless saddle with a treeless saddle pad that distributes the weight better for the horse. (Your butt will thank you, too!).

Conditioning usually begins with long, slow distance and then involves fartlek training through whatever terrain you have access to. It is good to ride through as varied as you can, but it's not always possible. Where I live there are no hills, so I find deep sand on rides and we canter through it to build wind and muscle. Arena work is good for balance, control and communication as well as some light conditioning.

Endurance 101 is a book on Kindle and it will help with the basics. A good, light read.

As for riding professionally for money in Endurance, I don't know anyone that does, so I cannot help you there. Let me know if you figure it out - It would be nice as rides can be expensive!
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post #6 of 7 Old 08-17-2013, 10:05 AM
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bout the closest thing to professional yo uwill find is guys that top 10 tevis then lease out their horses to foreing riders the next year. Or breeders/trainers that get said riders to ride their horses. Doubt any make much off it though. Endurance is an amateur sport and we kinda like it that way. Helps to keep it honest.
No tack rules in AERC, but your gonna need a saddle. No idea if your horse is suitable or not.
Seems any untrained runaway race brained horse is always labeled as "good for endurance" by people that have never been to an endurance ride or know anything about it. Hear it all the time.
AERC has a mentor list as well as regional directors to help you get started. Start on and go from there.
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post #7 of 7 Old 08-17-2013, 12:52 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the feedback guys!

I was thinking that if I end up marketing this mustang as an Endurance prospect, I may want to have a ride or two under my belt. I will definitely start looking at people who routinely do this and try to find a mentor in my area whose brain I can pick!

The longest ride I've been on is about 40 miles and I did it bareback on my old mare. I had a blast and I think we both could have covered another 40 before either one of us got tired, but I was not sure how to get involved in endurance riding when I was younger.

With Raylan, he is small and compact with great feet, legs, and solid muscle structure. He has the physical traits that I would think would make a great prospect and I have no doubt that he can go for miles on the trail.

I want to find the discipline that I think Raylan is most suited for and I truly believe that he may have what it takes for endurance riding. He will never be a jumper or gymkhana horse (too slow, not leggy enough, built too compact), but he may be a good cow horse for a junior rider if endurance is not an option.

In the end, time will tell. I am not in a hurry to place him and I really appreciate all of the feedback. Thanks again!
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