35 Mile LD as First Ride?
There is a 35 mile LD endurance ride in the upcoming month, the Fort Stanton Endurance Ride!
I've been working with my mare and she is making great progress. Not fighting against the bit anymore, going long and low on cue, etc. She still gets nervous in new areas, especially when on her own, but she is manageable. Recently we did a 12 mile ride up a canyon at all gaits and, after the first 5 jittery minutes, she settled down just fine and we had a nice ride.
I would love to do this 35 mile ride but... I just don't know if we are ready! :-| This would be our first. I was hoping our first would be a 25 mile but this area unfortunately doesn't have many rides so I feel like I must consider every opportunity. I'm afraid as a complete newbie I've still not gotten into the swing of checking heart rates (I need to do that more...), but she does seem to cool down fast. Actually I find it difficult to even tire this mare out! On the ride up the canyon we did some fast canters and went up/down hills and it didn't seem to phase her. No huffing and puffing and hardly broke a sweat.
My goal isn't place high right now (though finishing before last would be nice!). I just want to get my mare out there, used to the setting, and completing without any hiccups. Aerobically, she seems decently fit, but I don't know how fit is fit enough. But I don't want to push her too hard
My goal is to start going 10-15 miles twice a week. But even then the actual rides are going to be longer than my training rides and this concerns me a bit.
Any tips or advice on getting ready for that first ride? I am fortunately going with people very experienced with endurance riding, though they will be doing the 50 and I might be riding alone on the 35, and will seek their advice as well.
10 to 15 twice a week is fine. just do them fast. IE little to no walking. I am saying fast relative to average trail rider speed. But slow to endurance speeds. Try to maintain 7mph average for your 15 mile training rides. I have no idea of yor horses breed but even a fit horse may have problems pulsing down if it is hot. depends on the horse. You really need to learn to track accurate speed and accurate pulse rates to answer your conditions. If you can do a 15 mile ride under the same conditions IE trail/ weather at 6 plus mph and your horse pulses down in 5 minutes Id say its ready for a 25 ish LD.
Saying that ? I wouldnt consider a 35 mile LD. 25 or 30's only. Your just gonna have to trust me on this one but a 50 mile endurance is easier than a 35 mile LD. way different rules and time lines. 35 mile LD will be very tough for a new rider and horse. If that is your only choice I wouldnt bother. see if there is a novice division of around 15 miles. Do that as a learner. But Id just keep training a bit longer and do the 50.
Sounds to me like you have been doing your homework, working with your mare on not only her brain on trail but on her condition. A greenie being a bit jittery to start with doesn't surprise me, as long as you are comfortable handling her that way.
If you are consistently going 12 miles and not even making her sweat, she is more than ready for an LD at a reasonable pace. No idea why 35 miles would be any bigger of an issue than 25 miles, you just keep going down the trail at the same reasonable pace.
Have you practiced the vetting out procedures (trotting in hand, a stranger feeling her all over, looking in mouth, etc)? Sounds like you have experienced friends, so I suspect they have suggested that kind of thing before (or perhaps even helped you do them!).
Send in your entry. You can do it!!
Not to be negative or seem like a quitter, but if worst comes to worst, I will pull/scratch my horse from the competition myself if I see anything abnormal for her, and will get off and walk/jog with her. I don't want to make this a bad experience for her and then ruin or sour her in the future; honestly even simply tagging along and being there will be good for her to get out and experience the event. If I change my mind or pull from the competition I can still always help my buddies out!
You will do GREAT!! They will have an additional ride meeting for all the first time riders, so go to that. If you are not going with someone else, sometimes they will partner you with a more experienced team, but be certain they are going SLOW the entire ride, not just starting slow.
PM me, and I will send you some names to look for. Work on your mare giving electrolytes, and do not worry about the vets.
Good Luck!! Tell everyone in the central region I said HI !!
Even if you have issues that cause you to have to pull out before the ride is over, this will be a great training experience for both you and the horse. If you go into it with the attitude that you are training and you will be ok emotionally if you don't complete the ride, and you are attentive and take care of your horse, I don't see how it can hurt.
Some rides have to be paced faster than others because of the number of holds. Example: a 25 mile ride with one 30 minute hold means you get 5 hrs 30 min to be out on trail actually riding the distance. However, a 25 mile ride with two 30 minute holds means you only have 5 hours of actual riding time. If you are on the turtle end of pacing, that additional hold might mean the difference between finishing and being overtime.
couple issues. I am betting with a 35 there will be two holds, as opposed to most 25's only having one. more cutting into your available ride time. 50's tend to have two or 3, So lot more fudge factor in a 2 hold 50 than a 2 hold 35. But the biggest difference is the rules difference at the end of the race. for sake of math we will use a 25 mile LD and a 50 endurance.
You have 6 hours to complete a 25, 12 for a 50,,, sounds linear but it isnt. On an LD you complete when you pulse down, on endurance you complete when you cross the line then have an additional hour to pulse down.
SO on that 35 mile ride you will have a max of 8:30 to finish and that INCLUDES all holds And time to pulse down. So really you need to be in camp by 8:10 to allow your horse time to pulse down, especially for the heavier breed. Also factor in it gets warmer as the day progresses so you will need to take it easy the last few miles.
For a 50 mile endurance you can take the entire 12 hours to get back to camp PLUS you get an additional one hour to pulse down, so you can pretty much go for it all the way in.
Assuming the same holds you could be 30 minutes over time on the 35 and still have 3 hours to complete the last 15 miles of a 50 and still then get an additional hour to pulse down. See what I'm getting at ?
Now I am in noway saying dont ride. What I am saying is keep training. But if the choices of a first ride were a 35 LD or a 50 endurance Id pick the 50 endurance. even though it is longer the difference in end rules actually make it a bit less stressful and easier. Especially in your case where all your training buddies are doing the 50 and can help you and your horse along.
As long as you can do the average 8 mph (slow working trot for most horses) for the duration, you will be fine. My horses walk at over 5 mph, at lengthen a trot to 15 mph.
I never had an trouble making it in on a 25. On a 50, however, my slower horses have turtled, and I have ridden in with only 20 minutes left on the clock.
her options arnt a 25 LD or a 50, If that was the case Id say go for the 25, with its one hold.
With the choice limited to 35/50. Id start adding some serious miles to my training program and go for the 50.
Another thing is to set yourself up for success. Look at the ride calander and pick your ride. Your on a QH ? I think you mentioned. Pick the colder less humid time of year to debut.
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