Long Distance Trail and Endurance Riding
Well I want to do endurance on my six year old appendix gelding. As of current he can long trot four miles in mild weather without breaking a sweat. In the winter he can ride 10 miles at mostly a lope and long trot, during the summer heat, and we are talking tripple didgits and humid im in texas after all, he can do 10 miles at mostly a trot and some lope. Of coarse this is without me really pushing him. From what ive heard that makes him a decent prospect and with a bit more conditioning I know we could start amatur level endurance comp.
What I was wondering is, granted there are some endurance riders here to see this, What I could do to help condition him besides lots of wet saddle pads and concentrated training?
Also does anyone else think hes a good prospect or is it just me?
Ive already got an all day trail ride planned in Oklahoma this fall with some friends and I figured I would use that help me judge if hes really up to it...
Endurance and CTR rides are about setting goals and reaching them. About improving the performance of the horse, Not about winning.
Remember the motto of endurance "To Finish is to Win"
The biggest problem I have with horses new to endurance is that they want to keep up with all the other horses. The herd mentality kicks in and they want to stay with all the other horse even if it exhaust them.
You need to know what your horse is capable of and rate your horses performance to stay with in his abilities. Yes the winner of an endurance race will finish 50 miles in 4 hours 20 minutes. But maybe your horse needs 8 hour 20 minutes to do the same distance.
You need to set the goal of "I will finish the ride with a sound horse regardless of how long it takes" After you have completed that goal, you can work on improving his times etc.
As a newby, when the race starts, I head my horse in the opposite direction and let the leaders get going. After the mob leaves the starting gate, I then start. I can set a gait/speed that is appropriate for my horse. Remember in the movie Hildago at the start of the race how everybody roared off the starting line and once out of sight settled into a good walk.
You don't want a new horse wasting energy because he is excited by the crowd of fast horses. Put him in a position where he can stay calm and relaxed. He has 50 miles to complete and being high strung with excitement can wear him out more than the actual miles will.
Thanks for the advice! I was actually thinking about starting at the 25 mile mark...I know they dont really count that as a real race but I read some where that alot of new riders start there...
Also I was wondering...is a barefoot horse just as good as one with shoes when it comes to endurance?
Im confident my boys feet will hold up and would be fine but I would still like some opinions...hes been barefoot his whole life and has very strong tough feet.
Yes Limited distances are good pace to start. Although I've never done one. I just jumped right in and did a 50 my first race. It will depend on how well you know your horse, and how well you can read his vitals on the training rides and during the race. Don't over stress your horse.
As far as Barefoot goes. Only you know how good his feet are. I'd suggest at least using boots. My horses can go any where barefoot. But my horses S L O W way down when they are barefoot vs when they are shod. If it's a sandy ride, No problem. If it's a gravelly ride. Get some protection on his feet. 50 miles is a long way barefoot.
ok thank you so much...and hes pretty use to riding over rough gravel considering the only places we have to ride are dirt and gravel roads but ive been considering getting him some easy boots...guess i will get some lol
I love it. It is a sport with lots of friendships and camaraderie.
If you want to information on Endurance as good place to start is Endurance.Net. There are many articles and loads of information.
You can also go to www.aerc.org for all the rules, regulations and other information necessary to getting started.
Perhaps you have a local group or chapter in your area so you can find a mentor. AERC has a mentor program and even though I live in Europe, my mentor is in the Pacific Northwest. This person has been very helpful on everything from getting started, choosing equipment, Heart Rate Monitors, feeding, training and recovery issues and just general anything that crosses my mind. After many months of training, our 1st ride is in 8 days....30K in the Alps between Switzerland and France!
Good luck....ride long and prosper!
There is no shame in pulling out if you feel the horse is no longer fit to go on.
As for the feet it depends on the terrain and how your horse's feet stand up to the footing. You alone can judge if your horse is happy barefoot or not.
At home you should try longer rides, not speed but time spent in the saddle. If you can easily do a 3 hour walk around you certainly can stand the 4 hours or so for a easy 25
Pick a partner and just go and have fun
Thank you so much guys!
QtrHorse: Ill def look at those sites!
RiosDad: Ok I think ill def ride a 25 then to see how he does...I rode him for an hour and a half the other day and wasnt even tired and niether was he so maybe thats a good sign lol
For Endurance racing, you can use hoof boots to help him out. For CTR, hoof boots cannot go past the hair line, all the way around, so you're limited to glue-on boots and the original style easy boot.
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