Where to start for endurance? - The Horse Forum
  • 1 Post By phantomhorse13
  • 2 Post By 2scicrazed
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post #1 of 4 Old 03-26-2014, 01:04 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: St. Louis, MO
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Where to start for endurance?

I am all for trying new things and recently endurance caught my eye. I have an OTTB gelding that has tons of energy nonstop. How would I begin to prepare if I wanted to get into endurance? I am not getting into it heavily or for prizes or anything, I just think it would be a fun thing to try out with my gelding. Are there practice endurance runs? I live in the St. Louis, Missouri area so if you have specifics that would be great. What kind of specific things would I need for endurance? I know there is a lot up prep to build up to it I was just curious on where I should start with it all. How did you all come to start doing this?
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post #2 of 4 Old 03-26-2014, 01:11 AM
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Find a group near you and get a mentor, volunteer at some events.
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post #3 of 4 Old 03-26-2014, 09:41 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: NE Pa
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The only things you need for endurance are a sound horse, tack that fits your horse (and hopefully you), and a good brain (def yours and hopefully your horse too!).

Going to rides near you as a volunteer is always my first suggestion. There you can not only get a close-up view of what goes on, you can hopefully find some local people to you to act as mentors.

Check out AERC's website (AERC = American Endurance Ride Conference, the governing body of the sport). They have links to the ride calendar (where you can find rides in your area), FAQs, advice for new riders, etc. Another great resource is the Old Dominion's website, which has great links in the 'education' section (the rides themselves aren't near you unfortunately, but the info is good regardless of where you ride). Another fantastic place to go is the AERC's YouTube channel. There are videos about camping and what to expect at vet checks, etc.

Another great resource is facebook. There are many groups for distance riding, including some "green bean" groups which are specifically meant for newbies. I am involved in mostly groups for the Northeast, and I suspect there are similar groups for your region (which is technically Central, but you may find rides in the MidWest are not too far either). The groups that deal with the whole country can be a bit.. overwhelming.. so please don't join one of those and think everyone involved in distance riding is crazy!
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post #4 of 4 Old 04-07-2014, 05:21 PM
Join Date: Apr 2014
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Phatomhorse has soome good advice. Being a volunteer is a great way to get your feet wet.

For conditioning you and your horse, the best way to start is looooonnnnnggggg slow day rides at your local state/federal parks (these are also where a lot of AERC events are held) Going for weekend camping trips are even better. You can even find big trail riding groups/events to go to.

The main points of training are:

#1 - get your horse(s) used to big groups of strange horses and to ride peacefully in them for an entire day.

#2 - find out which tack does and does not work for you or your horse on long rides of 4 hours or more.

#3 - by starting at slow pace, you'll build the horse's bones, joints and muscles up slowly with less risk of injury.

#4 - by training over the same terrain as your local AERC rides will be (AKA same parks/trails) your horse will be able to handle any terrain challenges unique to your region/state.

#5 - once you've figured out which equipment and clothing work for you and your mount over a 4+ hour trail ride - then start doing shorter faster training rides to build up some speed and find your perfect pace.

#6 - once you've volunteered at a ride or two, then you will know how to 'dress reherse' the vet checks, holds and distances during training rides. That's when you start experimenting with different snacks/hays/fiber/electrolytes for both you and your horse.

And finally, when you DO do your first LD (25-30 miles) - DO NOT test out anything new!!! I've had so many failures and seen so many failures by riders testing out a new product at the ride itself. (Like the time I tried Monkey Butt salve after riding a 50 on a Fri & looking at riding a second 50 the next day (my first 2-day 100 on 2 horses) - let's just say I found out the hard way I'm allergic to it. And rode the second 50 miles that weekend laying flat over the back of my saddle horse with tush up in the air. Hysterical in hindsight!!!! However, I did successfully complete the second 50!)

And have fun! The best excuse to do a lot of trail riding is to get into endurance :)
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endurance riding , new discipline

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