I'm preparing to train for my first competitive trail ride. Since my horse is fairly out of shape...ahem...very very out of shape...I wanted to take it slow and easy. I just bought her about 2 weeks ago, and we're still getting used to each other, so for the next 4 weeks or so, I'm going to be working on exercises for respect Clinton Anderson style. I havehttp://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1570762848/ref=oh_details_o06_s00_i00 that I've read, and used on another horse with much success. This horse is already a lovely horse, but she clearly doesn't have any idea what groundwork is, and I believe that groundwork is important. Why not start from the bottom up while building our bond? So anyway, I plan on working through this book over the next 4 weeks before training for the ride. (I also have to wait until hunting season is over to legally (and safely) ride the trails near my barn.
My horse is a 9 year old quarter horse mare who has been trail ridden and started in reining. She seems to spook easily, and I don't know if it is because she's in a completely new place for the first time in her life, or if she's always been kind of spooky. Either way, what better way to get over scary things than to do a lot of trail riding.
My logic is, I want her in better shape than what she would need to be for the ride, so I'm taking it slow and steady. (I need to be in good shape too) I made up a schedule because I'm a type A weirdo that likes to know when everything happens.
Goal: 2-3 day trail ride at 25-40 miles a day
Here's my schedule:
--Short trails: 3-4 times a week to get used to the idea (1 hour a day)
--Moderate trails: 5 miles a day 3-5 times a week within 2 hours
--Intermediate trail rides: 5 miles a day 3-5 times a week within an hour
--Trail rides: 7 miles a day 3-5 times a week within an hour
--Trail rides: 10 miles a day 3-5 times a week within 2 hours
--Trail rides: 15 miles a day 3-5 times a week within 3 hours
--Trail rides: 20 miles a day 3-5 times a week within 4 hours
--Trail rides: 25 miles a day 3-5 times a week within 5 hours
--Trail rides: 25 miles a day 3 consecutive days within 5 hours
--Trail rides: 30 miles a day 3 consecutive days within 6 hours
--Trail rides: 35 miles a day 3 consecutive days within 7 hours
--Trail rides: 40 miles a day 3 consecutive days within 8 hours
--Continue 40 miles a day 3 times a week until competition
Also, list of basic trail things to keep me safe while riding alone
***tell someone where I'm going before I leave***
-cell phone (on me, not my horse)
-wasp spray (as a weapon)
-sunscreen (I'm the palest, freckliest person on Earth)
-map of conservation area
-sponge on a string
Please don't make too much fun of me for my detailed schedule, I'm a scheduler and it just makes me feel better to know how things are supposed to go, and it gives me something to stick to.
Any tips/tricks for competitive trails, both preparing for them and riding them?
Any important items I'm missing?