I want to try endurance riding on my 5 yr old curly/quarter horse mare maybe next year. This past year we have been riding multiple times week usually either in the arena for 30min to an hour, round pen for an hour, or on the trails for a few hours. On the trails we usually go at LEAST 6km but mostly its like 10km through a good bit of sand. We do this mostly at the walk and trot, and then a huge gallop a couple of times across the beach to race against the other horse. We don't win because the other horse is a ottb and has a huuuuge stride, but it's still a lot of fun. Ilanna, my mare, is extremely stubborn. However, she loves getting out on the trail and will happily go until her eyeballs are sweating after we get past the initial part of the trail that she finds boring. Does this sound like a good start? I figure I should also:
- Volunteer at a couple endurance rides and make some connections.
- Go camping a few times.
- Maybe see if I could trailer her in to a ride but just let her chill and get used to the ambiance while I volunteer?
- Start taking her heart rate on rides.
- Transition into doing more trotting rather than walking.
- Figure out a feeding plan and get her used to electrolytes.
- Find a better saddle. I am currently using a western saddle bc my english one only fits her half of the time so I'd prefer to find a starter endurance saddle and sell my english one.
- Start by entering a few competitive trail rides.
- If I'm lucky maybe someone needs someone to ride their horse. It would be helpful to be on a horse that knows what it's doing so I can focus more on other things.
I'm not worried about her trail sense or being herdbound. She grew up on a farm with lots of backcountry bush, creeks, and wildlife so she's used to it all. She is also very independent from other horses in general. She was the three-day-old foal who would gallop towards a fence and then stop right before it and slide a bit.
Does this sound like a good plan? How do you condition your horses for their first ride?
Also, Ilanna has allergies so I'm wondering if that would affect endurance riding?
Thanks in advance!