Endurance riding
 
 

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Endurance riding

This is a discussion on Endurance riding within the Horse Shows forums, part of the Showing Horses category
  • Slow and fast twitch muscle inheritance in thoroughbreds
  • Where would you find a fast twitch muscle in the horse

 
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    03-09-2009, 07:23 PM
  #1
Green Broke
Endurance riding

There are a couple people at the barn where I board who do endurance races and apparently are very good at it. I'm interested in the sport, I think it sounds like a lot of fun, but of course my horse and I are far from competing, we would have a lot of conditioning to do first! But I mentioned being interested the other day to these people and got comments like "oh your horse is NOT an endurance horse!" (they own Arab crosses) Now, my horse is a Paint/QH but I was under the impression that any horse could compete in endurance as long as he/she is healthy and fit enough (and conditioned to ride that long)...I'm not imagining that I could win or anything, just participate, that's all!

Anyone do endurance races and what do you think about a Paint/QH being in an endurance race?
     
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    03-09-2009, 07:52 PM
  #2
Trained
I placed fourth in my first endurance race against arabs and gaited horses. I have a quarter horse. Arabs and other horses bred for staminia do have a bit of an advantage, but there is no reason why your horse can't do endurance. Endurance racing isn't so much of a RACE in the general idea. It's all about how well conditioned your horse is. Go for it. It's a great way to bond with your horse and get you both in shape.
     
    03-10-2009, 09:03 PM
  #3
Green Broke
Thanks! That's awesome to hear! I think I may do it (someday) Sandie needs to get in better shape first, she was SO out of shape when I got her, and that was only 4 months ago...she's come a long way with a regular workout schedule but still has a long way to go before we could do endurance!

How did you and your horse train for it? What sort of schedule/what did you do and for how long/how frequently? I want to build up slowly obviously since my horse is pretty out of shape, but I'm trying to get ideas for a workout schedule?

Can you tell me a little more about endurance? How long is the race, how often are the vet checks, what do they look for at the checks, etc?
     
    03-10-2009, 09:30 PM
  #4
Trained
I did a twenty five mile a few years ago. I rode 5 days a week for about 2 hours a day. If I wasn't able to ride, I lunged for about an hour (30 minutes each direction). Obviously, make sure you start out slow and work your way up. We started out just walking with a bit of jogging. Towards the end we were trotting for the majority of the time with walk breaks and short sprints.
I like to train on different terrain. Hills, sand, packed dirt, etc. Also, we had to go through fairly deep water (about hock high) on our run so I would make sure your horse is okay with water.

Make sure he is getting the nutrition he needs and gets proper warming up and cooling down. It needs to be done at a pretty forward trot. Ours took about 4 hours (with a check point) give or take.

Do you have a riding buddy? Most of them send you out in groups of two. My group was me and the girl I had trained with. It made it easier because our horses knew each other and it was just more fun :)

Gow it worked was we got a vet check. They checked for any sores, windpuffs, splints, etc. They marked this down (I am looking at my score sheet...I will try and see if I can scan it). Then, in hand you trot your horse in a large circle. They look for length and hight of stride, body carriage, willingness, toe dragging, coordination any soreness, and muscle tone. Then they look for your horsess pulse, resp, and temp.
We had one vet check in the middle where they checked the vital signs again. Our horses got to rest for a few minutes and get some more to drink. Then we finished and everything was checked over again. They deduct points for anything. For example, I got a half a point taken off because his stride was slightly shorter and another half taken off because he was less animated. So one point taken from the Mechanical fatigue category.
Then I got another point taken off because he was kind of tired. So my body condition score went down from 100 to 98. You can get peneltys for behavior, thumps, or time. (Youre supposed to complete it in a certain period) We got 4 taken off (We got lost haha). So my final score was a 94 out of 100.

For referance, his pulse during the vet check was 36 and his resp was 12 during the vet check. When they checked at the end, it was 40 and 6. I got zero marked off.

Vet checks vary from 25 (done in about 4 hours) to days long. 25 can be called an extended ride/long distance ride and it's a lot of fun and not horribly strenuous.
     
    03-10-2009, 09:41 PM
  #5
Foal
In the muscles of all animals, there are 2 different kinds of fibers: slow-twitch and fast-twitch. Horses whose muscles are made up of mostly slow-twitch fibers tend to have more stamina and tire less easily. Horses whose muscles are mostly fast-twitch tend to have greater bursts of speed and power required for demanding sports, such as barrel racing or show jumping. Arabians excel at endurance racing because their muscles are made up of mostly slow-twitch fibers. Conversely, stock horse breeds have muscles made up of mostly fast-twitch fibers, which makes them well suited for speed events.

Just because you have a stock horse breed doesn't mean your horse won't ever be able to do endurance. However, it will be more difficult for you to condition your horse properly than it would be to condition an Arabian. The way you condition for endurance riding is through long slow distance work (LSD). This means riding up and down hills and on trails frequently at a walk and slow trot. Gradually increase the mileage that you ride and slowly increase your pace until you can ride at a brisk trot for about 20-30 miles without getting tired. Also, learn to take your horse's temperature, heartbeat, and respiratory rate. First, take these when your horse is resting. Then as you work, note how high each value gets. Your goal should be to get these rates as close to normal as possible, because this is what vets check for in the vet checks.

Endurance races come in different lengths. The most common length is 50 miles, but they can range from a 10 mile competitive trail ride to a 150 mile race. Definitely start out at the shortest distance. The amount of vet checks vary with the race, so make sure to check before entering. The horse that finishes first in acceptable condition wins. Prizes are also given for best condition.

Have fun competing, it isn't unheard of for stock breeds to compete in endurance. Don't let what anyone says influence you.
     
    03-11-2009, 05:57 AM
  #6
Showing
I think it sounds fun too. I would love to do it with my stang but don't know of any in the area (plus, it would take a year or more to get him in shape.......FAT) If you have the opportunity to do it, then go for it. Especially if you don't care if you win. Sandy may just suprise you and be really good at it. :)
     
    03-11-2009, 10:52 AM
  #7
mls
Trained
I placed top 10 in the region (UMECRA) with my quarter horse. Once in LW competitive and once in limited distance endurance.

It can be done.
     

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