going the distance - my endurance adventures - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 445 Old 06-14-2016, 05:05 PM Thread Starter
Green Broke
 
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going the distance - my endurance adventures

I figured since I babble so much on several threads, it might just be easier to start a journal. Thanks for reading!

Quick intro/review: This is my 10th season in distance riding. I generally do endurance events (which are sanctioned by AERC), but also do some CTR events (sanctioned by ECTRA).

I am super lucky that my DH also distance rides. Our horses are kept at home and I can ride right off the property. The herd includes:

Dream (Wirtual Dream), 2000 Arabian mare. I started distance riding with her and was spoiled by having a super horse right from the start. She has 2,120 endurance miles and 80 limited distance miles, including 3 one-day 100s, 31 Top Tens, 2 wins, and 6 Best Conditioneds. Sadly, she is now retired due to complications from a trailer accident and Lyme disease that has left her unrideable.




Phin (AM Bet on Dorsaz), 2008 Arabian gelding. We have just started competing this season (I just got him last year), so far having completed 1 limited distance ride (30 miles) and 1 endurance ride (50 miles), including 1 Top Ten.




Sultan (RA Sultan) is DH's heart horse. They have been doing distance together for 9 years. Sultan (in blue) has 2,040 endurance miles and 140 limited distance miles, including 4 one-day 100s and 14 Top Tens.




George (RA Silbaaddin) is Sultan's 3/4 sibling and they have been together literally their entire lives. When DH went to buy Sultan, he was told it was both or none! Luckily, he picked both. George (in red) has been doing distance for 8 years and has 1555 endurance miles and 55 limited distance miles, including 3 one-day 100s and 17 Top Tens.



There is no joy equal to that found on the back of a horse.
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post #2 of 445 Old 06-14-2016, 05:55 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2012
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good looking horses and impressive amount of miles under them. please continue to babble in the other threads too, i have seen that you put on some miles to get to your endurance rides, really wish there were more in the north east but happy with the outstanding trail riding i have close to home (if you ever do the brookfield NY ride & need anything while up this way PM me)
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post #3 of 445 Old 06-14-2016, 09:50 PM Thread Starter
Green Broke
 
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This past weekend, DH and I went south to Virginia for the Old Dominion ride. That ride is notorious for heat, humidity, and rocks - it's called the Beast of the East. This year did not disappoint!

We got there Thursday afternoon and I grazed the horses while DH set up the pens. After putting George and Phin into them, I was heading to fill the water buckets while DH was getting the eletric hooked up, when I heard a weird cracking noise in the woods just behind the pens. I swung around to look, saying something to DH. Both horses were on their toes. More cracking noises and the horses are both acting like they would like to leave the premises as I am looking for the creature making the noises. The next instant, a TREE comes crashing down, landing inches from the pens. The poor horses were less than happy, but neither so much as tested the fence!

Nothing else out of the ordinary happened before the ride. The horses vetted in without issue. Phin is still a bit squirmy with strangers touching him, but nothing too bad. And the vets are all sympathetic, so make it a good experience instead of being angry about it.

Saturday morning was fairly comfortable in terms of temps and it wasn't foggy! We were happy to take whatever break we could, knowing the temp was forecast to climb into the 90Fs and get more humid as the day went on. DH and I were riding the same distance but planned to do so separately, as George is generally much faster than Phin. After tacking up, we mounted up and then went our separate ways.




The start was a bit exciting for me, as Phin had never done so before without George or Sultan along. There were also 71 horses starting the ride, so it was quite the crowd! I hung back and let the front runners and most of the pack go before heading out myself. The first loop was 16 miles. Here we are just as we passed the start:




Phin was quite forward and decided that if he couldn't ride with grey horses he knew, then strange grey horses were better than nothing. I was not real pleased with the people we wound up behind, as they tend to ride a yo-yo pace (cantering one moment, walking the next), so I had a heck of a time keeping Phin at the steady trot I wanted. Once we hit the first big climb though, everyone was walking!







After the climb, the people on the greys vanished into the distance, cantering off downhill. Phin really wanted to follow, but I was able to keep him to a trot. The person who had been following us up the climb (a friend), tried to get him to buddy up with her horse, but apparently Phin is color-biased! All the way to the first hold, he just looked for more greys.







When we got to the hold, I had expected to find DH there with George about ready to go back out. Instead, they hadn't even vetted yet! George was being a bit of a pill and had taken some time to calm down and pulse down. Once he saw Phin, he was hollering like a fool so DH had to wait for me to untack before trying to pulse George. Phin was down by the time I had the tack off, so we went and vetted together uneventfully.

Phin did a super job of eating during the hold. After how fussy Dream was about eating, I still can't believe it. Phin will eat basically anything and everything you put in front of him!



to be continued..


There is no joy equal to that found on the back of a horse.
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post #4 of 445 Old 06-14-2016, 10:04 PM Thread Starter
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part 2:

DH and I decided that since the horses were both there, we would ride the next loop together and see how things went. That loop was 17 miles. We headed out with happy horses and while George had to slow a bit, he didn't seem to mind and wasn't fussy about it.




We had been told the really tough climb had been taken out of this loop due to trail erosion making it dangerous. So we went along, waiting for the trail to deviate from the one we knew. It didn't. We kept thinking the new turn would come any moment. It didn't. Eventually, we were at the bottom of the notorious climb.. surprise! It was in the course after all.







Amazingly, we passed a group of hikers who were trimming trees along the climb. I had to give them massive kudos for their efforts!!










When we reached the summit, we figured we had seen the worst of it. The climb was always very rocky, but didn't seem any worse than previous years. Then, we came to the first downhill. We had caught up with a couple other people (riding experienced horses) and knew something was up when they halted and dismounted. DH did the same when he looked over. When I saw the trail, my stomach sank. The trail had washed out badly around the rocks, leaving scary gaps just asking to trap a foot. Phin has come a long way, but he is still not the most coordinated going downhill over funky terrain. I don't have any pictures because I was too busy trying to help Phin (and myself) navigate the trail. I am happy to report he kept his head and carefully placed one foot at a time. There were shoes and boots all over the place - evidence others had not been so careful. But everyone in our group made it down unscathed and we continued on.




The second hold was a place that crews cannot get to, but there are always volunteers to help. The horses were provided water, hay and a variety of grain and they had water and goodies for us, too. The place is always an oven - never any breeze and the rocks seem to reflect the heat even into the shade. We were not sorry to get back on trail for the next 13 mile section.




to be continued..


There is no joy equal to that found on the back of a horse.
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post #5 of 445 Old 06-14-2016, 10:15 PM Thread Starter
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part 3

This loop had quite a bit of road, which was a nice change after the horrible rocky sections. The horses perked up and were happy to move along.






Before long, we were in the hold (which was the same place as the first hold). The boys pulsed down right away and vetted through with no issues. I had a few bad moments as Phin didn't want to eat or drink much to start with. I had given him a dose of electrolytes on trail during that loop and he had taken great offense to it. After repeatedly rinsing his mouth out with water and then coaxing him with hand feeding, he took a couple bites and realized I hadn't poisoned him after all. Lesson learned - no elytes on trail for Phin!!




The last loop was a quick 6.5 miles and the horses knew they were going home. We made a point to let them drink their fill at the creeks and do a lot of sponging, not letting any of them hurry home. We crossed the finish line together after an amazing day.





George and Phin passed the final vetting with flying colors, though Phin did show some sensitivity in his girth on the right (so I know I have some tack tweaking to do). That completion means

Phin is officially an endurance horse!!





I couldn't be more pleased with how he handled himself. We tied for 14th and only about 50% of the horses that started, finished.



There is no joy equal to that found on the back of a horse.
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post #6 of 445 Old 06-14-2016, 10:23 PM
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A fascinating journal I will definitely sub and continue to read. Thanks! I live in a country where endurance riding is practically non-existent, but at least I can imagine it through stories like these. :)

I have come a long way, to surrender my shadow to the shadow of my horse.
/James Wright/
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post #7 of 445 Old 06-14-2016, 10:55 PM
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I love Phin's happy forward ears :) Bout time you started a journal!
AnitaAnne and phantomhorse13 like this.

When I'm not too busy with dogs and horses...I work on my portfolio!
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post #8 of 445 Old 06-14-2016, 11:16 PM
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You are living what I always wanted to do but, even competitive riding wasn't in the cards for me so I created my own"endurance riding" :)

I spent the first 51 years of my life on the Oh/PA border. We did a lot of riding at Beaver Creek, OH and up in the Allegheny's.

Hats off to you, I will be following along:)

A Good Horseman Doesn't Have To Tell Anyone; The Horse Already Knows.
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post #9 of 445 Old 06-14-2016, 11:25 PM
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Too bad you aren't riding anymore Walk! Beaver Creek is just over 2 hours away from me :P Since moving to Ohio I'm having a lot of fun checking out all the parks!

When I'm not too busy with dogs and horses...I work on my portfolio!
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post #10 of 445 Old 06-15-2016, 12:17 AM
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I'll be watching this thread! I'm so fascinated by endurance riding, I really hope to try it one day. Love all your bright red next to Phin's grey. :)
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