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Sharpie 03-31-2013 10:47 PM

Horse Mindset
Yesterday, we went out and did 9 miles, our first ride at a good pace since we both had a 9 week layoff, and Jayne was a rockstar even though it was hot. At mile 7 I asked for a little canter, figuring he'd be tired and we'd just go a few strides, nice and relaxed. Instead, he decided he wanted to RUN and just seemed so happy to be out, to stretch out, and to get a chance to go, that I couldn't help but let him (grinning like a fool, of course). He knows that when we're out with other horses, it's all walk and a little trot and he has to be the 'good example', but when we go out alone, he puts his trotting/go pants on and I am the weak link.

I know that having the 'heart' or drive for endurance, along with soundness, can be a huge factor for a horse to succeed (which I define as finishing the race). Any way to tell if a horse might have it aside from going out and doing it? And secondarily, would doing a LD length ride NOT at an actual ride be telling at all? I know the atmosphere of a race is far different than just going out on our own. Anyone want to come down to Corpus and do a long ride on the beach with me? How do you do enough miles for training? This 9 mile track is about the furthest I have without trailering, and the idea of doing it back and forth a couple of times, while doable, isn't particularly appealing, but I know we need to start going longer if I want to be able to do LD at all this year.

Joe4d 04-01-2013 09:01 AM

i have a about a 9 mille loop as well, lots and lots of laps, LOL,,,,
I dont know about LD's. There are two basic theories.
A decent conditioned horse can run through an LD and come out ok even if they arnt metally fit for the game. Doing LD's teaches the horse to do just that, run too fast and get it over with. DOing 50's a horse has to learn to pace itself, eat, drink and stay calm to finish. They learn to save some to the end.

The other theory is LD's are good stepping stone learning curves for Endurance and riders should just pace the horses and use LD's to learn their horse and learn their game.

No idea what is correct. I think some of it may be regional. In some areas LD's are almost exclusively used by newer riders as training rides. In others they are raced,
But really no way you will know for sure unless you do it. DO your 9 miles, take a 30 minute brreak do it again. That is real similar to what you will find at actual events. 12-15 mile loops, 30-45 minute break, repeat.

phantomhorse13 04-01-2013 03:52 PM

Doing it is the only way to know for sure, but you can certainly get some clues along the way.

A horse that is happy to go (and that doesn't mean go at a breakneck pace every instant :shock:) and go and keep going, despite challenges like heat/terrain/company is a good thing. A horse needs to enjoy being on trail at least most of the time! If your horse is needing more and more encouragement as the ride goes on, you may need to look at desire (versus fitness or something else unexpected.. a horse suddenly wanting to not continue during a massive thunderstorm is certainly understandable!).

Doing an LD can be a very telling experience, both about the horse and about the rider! Some horses are very different on ride day than they ever are during training rides and no way to know that except to do it. How things go on the LD can give you some good stuff to work on, but a disaster LD (or even a few) does not necessarily mean longer distances are out, just that more prep work needs to be done.

A 9 mile loop can be very doable for training for an LD. Train it as a single loop in increasing difficulty (faster, hotter, etc). Do it as a double loop to get the distance foundation (a horse comfortably, consistently training 18 miles should have no issue throwing in a few more miles on ride day to make 25 or 30 total). Repeating trail is not always the most exciting thing, but its worth it in the end.

Joe4d 04-01-2013 04:25 PM

I still remember the look on Gen Beauregard face my first LD, I am sure i was reading alot into it but I still laugh alot. Up to that point I had always tacked up, rode, untacked, went home. Had soem decent length ride but all at once.
At my first LD, I rode loop 1, untacked Bo puled down, put him in his coral He was happy as can be, prancing around calling to the other horses coming in, munching on hay watch ing me, the other horses,, OK hold time up grabbed my saddle and threw it on, And youd think I just stole his candy...
"Hold on bud, lets talk about this, whats going on here,, " hahahha.. first mile or so each timed I relaxed and loosened reins he would try to turn around and head back,, he seems to always know where the trailer is.

Sharpie 04-07-2013 10:09 PM

I was thinking of you today Joe! Went out and did the 9 mile loop, came back, untacked and took the hose to him. By the time I was done with that his pulse was 56. Then went out and rode another 6. He thought I was crazy and tried to give me the drunk walk for the first 1.5 mi out the second time, but then settled in and it was back to me trying to get him to rate his trot to something comfortable for both of us rather than long trotting. I was reading your posts on another thread though- made me feel better about having him canter some when holding him to a reasonable trot gets old.

Maybe next week we'll do the whole 18, and then shoot for a decent pace on it sometime after that. :)

phantomhorse13 04-11-2013 10:12 AM

There is nothing wrong with the canter. It gives both the horse and you a break muscle-wise. Just need to work up to how long and fast you are going, just like any other gait.

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