Curious about Endurance
I have a 13 yo OTTB gelding. Any chance, at his age, that he could be used for endurance? Do the trails vary a lot in difficulty? Where do I start to find info about endurance riding and what it entails? I'm looking for something to do with my horse other than the occasional trail ride so I'm just checking all of my options. I'll be spending most of this year getting his feet in better shape (some cracks and stuff to work on) but I'd like to start planning for something to start on next spring. Thanks guys.
A friend of mine just retired her endurance horse, he is 21 years old and took first at his last competition. It is based mostly on the health of your particular horse. His age alone is just fine.
I know the links for other things but not much time right now. I'm sure otherwise will chime in. (:
Go to endurance.net. There are tons of informative articles!! You can even find a mentor there.
One of the BEST things about endurance is that any horse can do it! The rider chooses everything the pace, the style, how long you take a break, etc.
As long as you are taking good care of your horse, the sport is as simple or as competitive and challenging as you wish.
So I just spent the last hour on endurance.net and am really encouraged by what I found. There is a ride just up the road from my house. Actually in browsing through the picture gallery from last year I saw several people I know. I've also ridden all of the trails they were riding on. Who would have thought! I think I'm going to go this year without my horse and just talk to people and get a feel for how things go once you get to camp. I'd like to participate in the 2014 event.
Thanks for the great link!
Oh, that's great!! It is always easier when you know someone there! Endurance is totally different from shows, in that everyone wants to see everyone else have a healthy horse and a safe ride. The only time there is real competitiveness is right at the finish line of a 50 mile race. A 25 is won by the horse that pulses down to criteria first.
Have fun, and keep an eye out for Cristoph Schork, I think he rides up there. His stable is called Global Endurance. He will be a great mentor.
I have competed on TBs for over 20 years. While 13 is older, it's not too old. May horses compete into their 20's. Rio Grand Sultan took the World championship at age 21. My TB got 8th place last month and she is 20.
The trails do vary a lot. Go online and ask people what a particular ride's trails are like.
For information, there are a lot of great books out there. Ridecamp at endurance.net is a great forum. Volunteering at a few rides before is invaluable. Crewing for someone at a ride helps.
Your timeline, start next spring , is great. That gives you enough time to condition him correctly. I always give my horses 6 months of conditioning before their 1st 50. If he has never camped, start doing some pleasure camping/riding with him.
You can also go to AERC.org. It stands for American Endurance Ride Conference. :)
So our conditioning has been put on hold while we get Comic's feet in shape. I had a poor shoe job that prompted me to go barefoot (boots for long rides). I think I've finally got his feet in shape to ride (had to get a crack to grow out first) now I've got to get my saddle adjusted. It's bridging pretty bad. In the meantime though, I'm able to borrow a western saddle from my FIL that fits Comic just fine. I got my Renegade boots in the mail yesterday (started out with fronts only) and I'm going to try them out tomorrow. Pretty excited to see how it works out. Thanks for all the help and links!
Best of luck! We have friends that regularly ride 25 and 50 milers (every other weekend, at least) and are top ranked in the region/nation. I rode one of their best arabs that has never been beaten in a flat-out gallop, and BOY is he fast! He's 17 and still coming in top 5 in 50 milers. I am excited to get into endurance more in the next year or so. Currently 7 months pregnant, so I've decided going *that* fast is an unnecessary risk at this point.
Note that we also rode with an older woman whose OTTB (I believe) was middle-aged or a bit older, and kept up pretty well with the two arabs. It's all about conditioning, and as you become more in tune with your horse, you will be able to condition him even better. :)
I love my Renegades. Don't want to buy a new pair for Rikki until the Vipers come out though
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