hey, i have just started in riding endurance, i was wondering if anyone could give me any tips? and how i know if my horse is right for the sport?
How do you know your horse is right for the sport?
First of all, look at his exterior, endurance horses have to have:
- a short, strong back
- lots of muscles in the hind quarters
- not too long fetlocks (or else he might get tendon problems)
- big nostrils (more oxygen)
- hard hooves
- but the most important thing is the impulse to go fast.
Arabians are one of the best races for endurance because most of them are a little fiery and love to walk and you already have big nostrils and their back is not too long either. :)
Your lucky! One thing I've wanted to do in my life! Have fun! Just make sure you work your horse enough to open those lungs and strengthen his muscles. Lots of trotting. Want pics!
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thanks for all the advice, my arabian mare is about 15 hands very fast, she was on the race track and won a few races, but she is quite long. im also scared that she wastes all of her energy in the first 5 miles because of being so hyper. is there a way i can get her to calm down?
You have to be careful with her back, if it's too long she might get back problems more easily. :wink:
I'm not around racing horses a lot, I guess if she sees other horses trotting away she tries to catch up to them and pass them?
My suggestion would be that you go on a trail ride with a friend and she trots away from you and you try to keep your horse in a walk, if she tries to run after. Walk in small circles so she can't go faster and if she is doing fine trot after your friend. Take it easy at first and after a couple of weeks your friend canters away from you and you can keep her in a walk, I guess that will help you a lot in endurance. :-)
Welcome to ultimate challenge.
Almost every horse gets hyper the first few races they attend. They show up in a new place, There are 50-100 other new horses, Somebody shoots a gun and the race is on. Why wouldn't your horse get excited?
After a few races your horse will learn the drill. They learn that it's not like a saturday ride where you ride 10 miles. They learn that when the crowd and excitment is around them, It's a heavy work day. So in time they learn not to waste energy getting excited at the start. But if you only do 2-3 races a year, You will never get them over that excitement level.
In the meantime you need to try and control the situation. With new horses I often ride the opposite direction for a minute or two and let the crowd depart. I don't want to get caught up in trying to keep up with the leaders. Let them go and get a good head start and then follow at a pace you choose. Keep the horses mind busy doing what you ask. Don't just sit there along for the ride. Ask for gives, circle bushes, sidepass, Just keep asking for stuff so the horse has to focus on you and not worry about the crowd.
how do i know when my horse is ready for a 50 mile race?
Hopefully you know how to take and understand your horses P&R's.
If you horse can put forth some effort and has good recoveries, He is ready.
Learn how to take your horses Pulse & Respiration. You should be able to access his hydration by skin pinch and capillary refill of his gums. You should know what his normal guts sounds are and be able to differntiate what they sound like vs reduced gut sounds. Know how to spot early signs of lameness in his movements when you lounge him. Be ables to spot sore backs.
When your horse is doing 20-25 miles rides with no soreness, with reasonable P&R's Then you can start to consider increasing his distance.
My big advice is this(feel free to ignore it if you don't agree):
I think ANYONE who wants to ride endurance should do CTRs FIRST. Lots of them. They really prepare you for the distance in a more gradual way, and they teach you the ins and outs, down to the very last detail, about how to care for your horse. People who go straight to endurance sometimes overlook very important aspects of the sport that involve the horse's well-being and health. In a CTR I'd say any horse is fine. Don't worry about her conformation YET, you're only starting out and for this your horse will be FINE as long as you know how far to push her and when to stop. CTRs(competitive trail rides) are much more detailed in the vet checks and really make sure that the riders have proper fitting tack, that the horses are being hydrated properly, etc.
Anyway, here are some general tips, much of which you may know, and some of them apply more to CTRs than endurance, but it all connects:
--Electrolytes are commonly used to prevent dehydration (baby food carrots are really good to mix them with!)
--If you want to be competitive it's a good idea to have something on you (like a GPS) that will tell you how many miles you've made it so far...and also a watch so you can see how much time you've used up!
--Carry a sponge with you to sponge down at water stops, and REALLY sponge at the hold before your P+Rs are taken. Sponge really really well, try to get the whole bucket of water on your horse. (but not by dumping it)
--don't let your horse eat or move during P+Rs as it will make them go up...DO let your horse eat before gut sounds are checked!
--It REALLY helps to have someone experienced compete beside you your first time so that they can walk you through all this
--as far as for the rider: pack water and protein snacks in your saddle bag so that you make it through the ride too!
...that's all I can think of off the top of my head right now...any specific questions?
when my ranch starts getting ready for the endurance rides (we dont do super long ones just fun ones) we start months before and do lots of training rides starting with about 6 miles then building on that depending on the horses we are using at the time and how in shape they are will determine our starting distance. This year we started our official endurance training with a 10 mile ride up in the hills. A good thing is do LOTS of conditioning to build her endurance and she will eventually learn to pace herself . For you bring LOTS of water and eat before you go out and bring snacks that are easy for the ride.
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