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Discipline: LD/Endurance, CMO, Trail Rider, Cartoonist, Writer, Co-Director/ Green Bean Endurance

September 5, 2008

I've read a couple of good articles online this week

You will find them under my favorites on the top section of this blog.

One was a discussion from Sweden on the diet that an endurance horse requires. When conditioning and finally competing Puddin' in our first rides, I found that she would hit a wall at about 20 miles, and she would either have to battle through, or walk the rest. I tried giving her more feed, and I attempted changing to a high performance feed. Neither option worked (and it was not a lack of conditioning).

What I found in this article was almost a classic diet for insulin resistant horses. LOW CARB / HIGH FIBER / SUPPLEMENTAL FATS/ TIMOTHY + MIXED GRASS HAY. Doug in researching the feeds we use finds that non-structured carbohydrates in Phebes' diet is way to high a percentage, over 23%. Nutrena offers a "light" product that has a much lower carbohydrate ratio, down in the teens. I feel the rest of what we are doing is right. The horses get beet pulp without molasses daily, they get a product called Horse Shine which is made primarily from ground flax seed, our barn is stocked with a mixture of timothy, and grass hay. I will check with my feed supplier Locust Grove Tack & Feed off of Mudpike road and see if he can get me the light feed from Nutrena. Hoping this will take some of the excess weight off of Phebes, give her a more sustainable energy supply as training progresses.

The second article was about training the endurance horse. Not training as you think of the basics, but how we fail to correct things immediately on trail, and set up bad habits in our distance horses. The crux of the article was that even in the heat of competition, if the horse gets hot, and no longer follows your leadership, it is time to deal with it, right then and there, even if it costs you time, a non-completion, whatever. Every ride is a training opportunity. By correcting problems in the first year and half on trail, the end product is a horse that can power down the trail, will listen to rider cues, and work on a loose rein. This allows the rider to relax, point the way, and have an enjoyable experience during competition.

I have found that Phebes does not work well on a loose rein, and have some contact all the time. I may work on this during her schooling exercises to try and get her to be more aware of other aids, such as seat, leg, and my body position. I like riding with a relaxed rein, I think the horse is more comfortable, and flows down the trail better not bumping into the bridle constantly.

The various articles are worthy reading, especially the article on diet. After reading it, I wonder if I should be on that diet myself...~Endurance Granny (who needs to drop 30 pounds)

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