New to endurance riding! - Page 2

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New to endurance riding!

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  • Endurance horse back into shape after winter
  • Training, 100myl endurance horse

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    01-26-2012, 01:04 AM
As far as conditioning goes, just ride ride ride! I used my equestrian team horse for an endurance ride over the summer. He was in excellent competition shape but no one thought he would last the endurance ride because he wasn't out training on the beach or running up hills all the time.

Well we proved them wrong. We came out among the top five riders and were in best condition. I rode in my barrel saddle, put some saddle bags with water bottles and lunch, and just went wherever the tape took me.

The entire day Rebel rode for 40miles. The race itself was only ten. (First time, we entered the "wimp race", then went out with others for an extra thirty miles after I got back) Over the entire four days we camped there I rode close to a hundred miles (Five the first day, fourty the day of the race, 25 the day after, and then fifteen the last day)

Never once did he come out soaking wet. He got a little bit of damp sweat, but it went away pretty darn quick and his heartrate always came out excellent. Got straight As on his vet checks and the vet said he had the toughest feet of any horse he'd ever seen to go all that with no shoes.

So the moral of my rambling is, if you can get your horse up into tough working condition, you can easily take home an endurance race prize. I don't think me and Reb will ever be able to win an eighty mile race, or even a fifty miles race, but for the 10/20/25 I now hold expectations!! I just had him conditioned for roping, gaming,ranch work, team penning and cattle work, etc and hell, I think after all that he thought some miles on a nice trail was a welcome break (Mostly because I didn't make him drag a cow down that trail ;D)

Good luck in your adventures....I hope you have a blast, I'm definitely going to enter the same race next year and this time get pictures because it was the greatest competition experience of my life.
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    01-26-2012, 09:52 PM
Originally Posted by jillybean19    
The site wasn't very specific about how far/fast to work your horse in conditioning, just to do it about 3 times a week, so how far do you generally ride for a conditioning session? That way I can know what to work up to without overdoing it. Thanks again!
One of the big things you will hear experienced people talk about is starting a new horse with "LSD" (which is "long, slow distance"). As someone already said, the cardiovascular system gets into shape pretty quickly, but tendons, ligaments and bones take longer. They are what need the long, slow distances to make them strong over time.

Working 3 times a week can mean different things to different horses, depending on where you are starting from. If you are taking a horse who has just been hanging out in a pasture for years, you are starting at a very different fitness level than one which has been used to 4-5 days of ring work (even "easy" ring work).

When I first started conditioning Dreams, she was borderline obese, having been standing in a pasture for almost a year without work. We started conditioning in late November with the goal of being ready for a competition in April.

We started dong short, slow rides (covering 6-8 miles in 2ish hours) twice a week (which was the most I could ride in a week due to travel issues). After maybe a month, I bumped that up to one 6-8 mile ride, one 10-12 mile ride, keeping the same moderate pace (though I would train at all 3 gaits.. just did a lot more walk and slooooooow trot than anything).

After another month, we bumped up to 2 10-12 mile rides each week. Then we bumped up the pace on one of the rides, but kept the distance the same. After a few weeks of that, I went to a faster ride of 10-12 miles and a slow ride of 15-18 miles. Beyond that, I slowly crept up the pace of what was considered "slow" (for me, an overall pace of 5-6mph) and "fast" (overall pace of 8-10 mph).

Once we started competing, my conditioning backed off a lot. My first season, I was riding in a 50 miler every month. Dreams would get the week before a race and the week after a race totally off. The 2 weeks in between, I would get her out once a week, for a moderately paced ride of 12-15 miles. That was more than enough to keep her fit (she also lives at pasture 24/7, so was moving around on her own all the time too), and as she has a good brain, I didn't have to worry about her losing her mind with that small amount of work. [One of my good friends has a mare who needs to be ridden 3 times a week or she will lose her marbles.. so that friend just does short rides of 4-5 miles each time, cause its the mental exercise she needs, not the physical.]

After that first season, she got about 6 weeks off totally, then we were conditioning once a week. Throughout the winter, the weather had a lot to do with how far and fast we went, with the goal being 15ish moderately paced miles. Once we got 2 months away from the first competition of the season, I started alternating between faster rides of 12-15 miles and slower rides of 18-20 miles (but still once weekly). Just how much condition a fit horse holds onto is amazing!

Our second season, we did our first 100. My conditioning program didn't change, as all the experienced riders I knew told me that the best way to condition for a 100 was doing a 50 miler. So we did 50 milers in March and April, then I did my own 2-day 50 mile ride at home in May (no 'real' rides local to me that month), then rode a 100 in June. Dreams got a month off after the 100, then I went back to the same schedule of conditioning I had been doing before to finish out my season with a few more 50s.

I think you have the right idea of getting to know your horse in the arena first and then moving out onto the trail as you both learn to trust each other. Any remotely fit horse who is ridden reasonably can do a 25 mile ride. You may not win, but you will finish, and that should be your goal to start with! Actually racing in the rides will come with time.
    01-26-2012, 11:42 PM
Green Broke
Wow wee Phantom...thanks for all of the info. I think I need to step it up a bit - not necessarily distance but maybe trot for more than we are. I am getting stronger too...and that will help but I want Biscuit to be as fit as he can be this year.
    01-27-2012, 09:57 AM
Originally Posted by jillybean19    
Oh I know!! All their horses are very well kept, braids and blankets included! It'll be so beautiful I may just have to take him in the ring a few times and show him off :P I'm afraid to take it out though because right now EVERYTHING is muddy in our area!

Haha well I can't wait to see more pics of him when it's not so muddy. My guy has such a short little mane..and tail... He keeps rubbing it off on his blanket
    01-27-2012, 03:25 PM
Green Broke
Conditioning is reletive. My horse was a drinking horse, so was used to going on 8-16 mile rides at a walk. Just about every weekend. Once I got interested in endurance I kept the same distances . Over the last three months started adding speed and frequency. One day a speed day, the other day easy day. On club rides I get there early, run him 8 miles or so get back eat lunch, wait on club to show up and ride again but at a walk. My other group we do the oposite. Ride at a walk with the club, then after lunch do a speed ride. My horse can pretty much hold a steady runwalk at 7-8 mph for a good 10 miles now.
    01-27-2012, 07:59 PM
Very good thread. The ride, ride, ride is correct. As a veterinarian, the problems that I have seen with endurance is people that do not condition at all and then take their horse to an endurance competition. One lady said that her horse would be fine for only a 25 mile ride without conditioning. The horse did do well at the competition. She went lame the next day.
    01-27-2012, 08:16 PM
Green Broke
Awww...poor thing!!! I love Biscuit too much to hurt him and hauling him out to a 25 mile ride without conditioning wouldn't be a good thing. Maybe 25 miles at a walk - that would take some time - but walk/trot 25 miles? Maybe not a good thing. Better safe than sorry and I want to ride another day - not just one day! Going riding tomorrow and Sunday - but they will probably be mostly walking with a little trotting. Big ride is next week..
Celeste likes this.
    01-27-2012, 08:19 PM
Actually the crazy person that I referred to galloped for a lot of the ride.
    01-27-2012, 08:47 PM
Green Broke
Good Lord - what an idiot. Poor horse...was it a temporary lameness or permanent?
    01-27-2012, 10:07 PM
She is fine now.
QOS likes this.

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