I'm very new to endurance riding, but hoping to get a good start. I recently got a new horse and I'm having a ton of fun getting to know him and hitting the trails. He has done two 50's and an LD, last in August, and has been lightly ridden since then. I've done 10-15 mile rides, but not much more.
I know the key is long, slow distance, but it seems that he should have a head start, given he was race fit just two months ago? I'm looking for a starting place, I guess.
He may get back into shape more quickly than a horse that has been out of shape for a long time, but two months is more than enough time for him to loose much of his race condition. Start doing 5 mile rides, mainly at a trot, and see how he does. Gradually increase the distance and intensity.
Is he pasture or stall kept? What sort of pace was he ridden in the few rides he has done? Were all 3 rides this season?
If he's pasture kept and those events were all this season, and you have done a couple 10-15 mile rides and he's been ok, I don't see why he wouldn't be able to do a reasonably-paced 50 at this point. Horses who are able to move around maintain their fitness much better than you would expect (and much better than people!).
He was pasture kept until I got him, but is boarded now.
His LD was about 4 hours and 50's at 8ish. They kept him slow and easy, as he was running with a younger horse. He's barely broken a sweat since I've had him =D .
I think that *I* have a fair amount of conditioning to do to be successful at a 50, but won't be so shy about the training rides.
Anyone have any advice about boarding an endurance horse? It seems like there is no way for him to move around as much as I'd like... Even in the turn out, he just stands around, at it's pretty small itself (probably only 50x50').