I met up with some new friends for a training/conditioning ride yesterday! A 'real' endurance rider and another wannabe like me! Us two newbies are planning on going to South Fork for the LD in September, which should be a blast. We went out to Land Between the Lakes yesterday. As some might recall, I just got to TN from TX, and the terrain here is a whole different animal than what my boy and I are used to. Mud, deep sand and heat are fine, but these hills and forests (roots and trees and spiders!) are something new.
Mr. Jayne ate, drank at nearly every water crossing, took his electrolytes and didn't freak out at me tossing sponge-on-a-rope off him like I thought he would. He even swam in the lake at the end. He was a champ- was very willing to trot forward and lead our small group without needing any encouragement or worrying too much that we were 'leaving' his new girlfriends behind, which was nice since both the mares thought it would be wiser to take it easy and meander along than trot off in the heat, but were willing to follow without issue. At the end of 15 miles with I don't know how much up and down with the hills, he chowed down on some beet pulp slurry, tanked up on water and looked fit and ready to go again. He also learned how to turn his head and take snacks from me while I was in the saddle.
Me- not so much. I need to get in better shape and drink more water myself! I thought I was doing alright with the 1L I got down, but wound up constantly thirsty and downing another couple liters the rest of the evening. Feeling good today though, not too stiff or sore, so there is hope!
I also need to buy sponge-on-a-rope for us and figure out what our human accommodations are going to be, but things are looking good and so far, I am LOVING Tennessee!
A question: aside from elevated HR/resp/temp or lameness/soreness/pain issues, how do you tell a horse is tired or no longer 'having fun'? Our endurance guide said her mare (not her endurance horse) was about done, but how did she know? I know after swimming, my guy was breathing hard, so we stood and rested for a bit, but even at the end, he was willing and forward. Not spooky or naughty, but not at all unwilling to trot or move out. Can a horse just be too cooperative for their own good? My guy lives to please, so I want to make sure I am not asking (and him giving) more than he is ready for. It's either that, or I just have never managed to make him tired enough to want to stop yet, and he really is in that much better shape than I am. ;)