Yesterday, we went out and did 9 miles, our first ride at a good pace since we both had a 9 week layoff, and Jayne was a rockstar even though it was hot. At mile 7 I asked for a little canter, figuring he'd be tired and we'd just go a few strides, nice and relaxed. Instead, he decided he wanted to RUN and just seemed so happy to be out, to stretch out, and to get a chance to go, that I couldn't help but let him (grinning like a fool, of course). He knows that when we're out with other horses, it's all walk and a little trot and he has to be the 'good example', but when we go out alone, he puts his trotting/go pants on and I am the weak link.
I know that having the 'heart' or drive for endurance, along with soundness, can be a huge factor for a horse to succeed (which I define as finishing the race). Any way to tell if a horse might have it aside from going out and doing it? And secondarily, would doing a LD length ride NOT at an actual ride be telling at all? I know the atmosphere of a race is far different than just going out on our own. Anyone want to come down to Corpus and do a long ride on the beach with me? How do you do enough miles for training? This 9 mile track is about the furthest I have without trailering, and the idea of doing it back and forth a couple of times, while doable, isn't particularly appealing, but I know we need to start going longer if I want to be able to do LD at all this year.