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new to endurance

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  • Fjord endurance horse
  • Endurance riding fjord

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    01-01-2013, 09:16 PM
  #1
Foal
new to endurance

I would like to try endurance my little guy, but because of his breed will he even have a chance at being competetive? He is a 13.2 hand norwegian fjord that weighs 950lbs. We have done JPR's, wich are 10 mile rides with obstacles and we mostly trot with some galloping and he would barely have any sweat on him.so for the most part he is in good condtion.i would just like to know if anyone thinks a fjord could be competetive, I have only heard of one and he was in the tevis cup and finished.

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    01-02-2013, 12:47 PM
  #2
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by rileydog6    
I would like to try endurance my little guy, but because of his breed will he even have a chance at being competetive? He is a 13.2 hand norwegian fjord that weighs 950lbs. We have done JPR's, wich are 10 mile rides with obstacles and we mostly trot with some galloping and he would barely have any sweat on him.so for the most part he is in good condtion.i would just like to know if anyone thinks a fjord could be competetive, I have only heard of one and he was in the tevis cup and finished.

With good conditioning / training I would think any horse could do it including your fjord. Now when it comes to finishing top, or "winning" an endurance ride that might not be in the realm of possibility. Who knows though? I say go for it! It can't hurt to try. Let us know how it goes!
     
    01-02-2013, 12:48 PM
  #3
Yearling
Any healthy horse can usually complete an LD. Any breed, but fewer horses, can do endurance. And any breed can be great or really suck it up. You'll just have to try! Make sure you get a good mentor who's willing to sake it slow and doesn't focus on winning. The best advice I was ever given was to condition where it's good and healthy for your horse, ride the races like you condition, and one day you'll "accidentally" top ten. Heck, this year, I "accidentally" got 1st place as well in my last ride! But we were taking it just like a normal conditioning ride and I even got off and walked/jogged quite a bit of it.

You can't go into endurance to "win" - those are the people that end up loosing horses no matter how fantastic they are. The AERC motto is "to finish is to win", and it's just a cherry on top if you finish in the top placings!
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    01-02-2013, 11:25 PM
  #4
Foal
Thank you both of you for the advice!
I looked at the AREC website and am going to try the fitness test that they suggusted*After a warm-up of 15 to 20 minutes that includes walking, trotting, a bit of cantering, until the body temperature of the horse is warm, start the fitness test. Trot your horse over the distance and, using the stopwatch, time your duration over the chosen trail. You can trot some, canter some, even walk some, according to the fitness level of the horse. The overall intensity/duration should not be harder than your general training miles. At the end of the distance, record the time in a little notebook that you carry in a pocket.
Start the watch again at the stop of exercise. At two minutes, take the heart rate using the stethoscope for 15 seconds. Record this number. While dismounted, walk the horse along and re-take the heart rate for 15 seconds at five minutes, 10 minutes and 15 minutes. Record these numbers. Cool out your horse (or continue with training miles, depending on the fitness level and your targets for training).*

I saw that they also have a mentor program.has anyone ever tried that?Do you think that they would let try a ride with a mentor,slow of course.also quick question,if I start doing endurance will I have to give him grain before/after?right now he doesnt get any grain but he gets a supplement and in the summer electrolytes.here is a picture of hard work for almost 2 years,he went from 1250lbs to 950lbs, 300lbs lost!


     
    01-02-2013, 11:58 PM
  #5
Yearling
Haha, my training and mentoring was much more simple, though I'm sure that'd work. Here's my two cents about getting started with endurance:

1) Volunter for at least one ride - definitely work some of that time at the vet check. Ask questions. There's a lot you can learn sitting with the vet and other volunteers (usually riders themselves) during the course of a 12 hour ride during which your job is mostly to sit, talk, and wait for a rider to show up. Observe and take in as much as possible about what's going on at camp, the vet check, ride meetings, starting the race, holds, and what riders are saying about the ride. You can learn more from one ride than a year of riding yourself.

2) Get your horse into fit and regular riding shape (you look like you're already there).

3) Get GPS that will tell you how far you've gone and how fast you're going (I have a Garmin Venture HC, about $110). This has been useful in riding in general - I log my arena miles just like my trail miles, and it sure is helpful on a ride to know how far you've gone and how far you have left to go! You'll also need a stethoscope. Don't worry about a heart rate monitor unless you really start getting into endurance. I still don't have one and don't feel any need for one, unless I start competing at the higher distances. Finally, you'll need a watch that shows the seconds.

4) Practice taking your horse's pulse with the stethoscope right behind his front left leg. There's plenty of websites to help you with this. When you start, time how many beats there are in 15 seconds and multiply by 4.

5) Get a good feel for a "working trot" - not a slow job, but not extended either. For most horses, this is about 8-9 mph (yours might be different because if his shape - I'm not familiar with the breed).

6) Take your horse out on a 4-5 mile ride and try to maintain a working jog most of the time. Keep cantering to a minimum, and walk where you need to. Cantering takes a LOT more out of a horse - that's why a good trot is the "working" gait of a horse. Walk the last 10 minutes/last couple hundred yards (figure out how far it takes your horse to walk 10 minutes).

7) Taking the pulse. When you get back, take your horse's pulse immediately, but not while he's eating/drinking/whinnying/being excited. You want an accurate pulse. Your target is 60. If he's already there, you're golden. If he's below somewhere 61-69, keep checking his pulse. As long as he's down to 60 within a couple of minutes, you're good. If he doesn't come down OR he's still very high (70-75 would be "iffy" while above 76 I'd be worried), then you need to go lighter. I highly doubt that's likely, given the work you've put into him and that any fit and healthy horse shouldn't have a problem coming down after only 4-5 miles of a working trot.

8) Adjust your training. If he's coming in at "golden", add distance OR speed - not both. If you're already up to 8-9mph good working trot, I'd just add distance, not speed. Any more speed really isn't necessary and strains your horse's ligaments which take years to build, not weeks. If you're coming in at "good", keep the same training schedule for a few weeks, then start adding distance. You'll get to know your horse. My horse always comes in at about 64bpm or lower, no matter if I went 5 miles or 25 miles.

9) Ultimately, you want to be conditioning at least 20 miles per week, but NO MORE than 30 miles per week. That does more damage than good. At least one of those days, you want to do hill work. If you can get in a short ride with tough hill work, that's great - but make sure it's shorter distance. You can count arena riding as conditioning, too! We were working on discipline at a working trot one day, and I got in all 8 miles. My friend does drill team with her GPS on, and she did even more than that! All riding counts as conditioning - even walking.

As far as nutrients goes, I'd say you definitely need to start with beet pulp, then add grain mixture. Soak the beet pulp to get a mash (you don't want any hard pieces) and it will help keep your horses hydrated. When you're just conditioning, this doesn't matter as much because your horse will have plenty of access to water most of the time. However, you want to get them used to eating it because it'll be a lifesaver at a ride, especially if your horse forgets to drink but is plenty eager to eat your beet pulp, getting his hydration that way. There are already plenty of threads on here about how to feed beet pulp, though, so I won't get into that many details. Just be sure to soak it, since hydration is the whole point of feeding it.

I add a Triple Crown Senior to my beet pulp because it's low in molasses, I'm already feeding beet pulp so I don't need a grain mix with that, it's high in fat, and has lots of other good stuff. I used to mix my own stuff together, but this is way easier and ultimately better and cheaper. You'll also want to get a good mineral powder to put in there, and electrolytes are great, but make sure your horse is used to them. I don't do electrolytes, but I want to explore it in the future. Ultimately, talk to your vet about what your horse needs. Since he's a different breed and build, he may require different supplements, but I don't think you can go wrong with that combination.

Oh, and I forgot to mention - the horse that took first at one of my favorite rides this year was a little welsh pony ridden by a junior bareback and in a halter. She and her siblings, also riding ponies, are some of the top juniors nationally. That'll give the people who think only Arabs can do endurance something to think about!
rileydog6, SueNH and RiverBelle like this.
     
    01-03-2013, 12:12 AM
  #6
Weanling
Now that's a beautiful Fjord! He looks like he's in amazing condition, so sleek and muscular.
Posted via Mobile Device
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    01-03-2013, 12:15 AM
  #7
Yearling
Yeah, I told my husband we're getting one now lol
     
    01-05-2013, 02:25 AM
  #8
Yearling
Long Riders Gear is really popular among endurance riders and that's why they tend to cater to. I found their Facebook page and immediately thought of you when I saw their cover photo. Thought you might like to check it out :)

http://www.facebook.com/longridersgear
     
    01-05-2013, 02:26 AM
  #9
Yearling
Long Riders Gear is really popular among endurance riders and that's why they tend to cater to. I found their Facebook page and immediately thought of you when I saw their cover photo. Thought you might like to check it out :)

http://www.facebook.com/longridersgear
     
    01-05-2013, 03:26 AM
  #10
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by rileydog6    
thank you both of you for the advice!
I looked at the AREC website and am going to try the fitness test that they suggusted*After a warm-up of 15 to 20 minutes that includes walking, trotting, a bit of cantering, until the body temperature of the horse is warm, start the fitness test. Trot your horse over the distance and, using the stopwatch, time your duration over the chosen trail. You can trot some, canter some, even walk some, according to the fitness level of the horse. The overall intensity/duration should not be harder than your general training miles. At the end of the distance, record the time in a little notebook that you carry in a pocket.
Start the watch again at the stop of exercise. At two minutes, take the heart rate using the stethoscope for 15 seconds. Record this number. While dismounted, walk the horse along and re-take the heart rate for 15 seconds at five minutes, 10 minutes and 15 minutes. Record these numbers. Cool out your horse (or continue with training miles, depending on the fitness level and your targets for training).*

I saw that they also have a mentor program.has anyone ever tried that?Do you think that they would let try a ride with a mentor,slow of course.also quick question,if I start doing endurance will I have to give him grain before/after?right now he doesnt get any grain but he gets a supplement and in the summer electrolytes.here is a picture of hard work for almost 2 years,he went from 1250lbs to 950lbs, 300lbs lost!


He lost 300 lbs of just hair!!! LOL. Beautiful horse. :)
     

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