Horse: This will probably be a lot of excitement for your horse unless the horse has done a lot of showing, trail riding, and camping. Realize that it may take a few rides before your horse catches the learning curve and begins to relax, eat well, and drink well. It is good to know what your horse's normal behavior is, their resting pulse, and respiration, and just pay attention. The ride vet will check several areas that might give a heads up to a horse in danger, but the rider KNOWS the horse, so don't get carried away and miss something obvious. You can always take a rider's option, pull your horse from competition, and ride another day if you feel that something isn't quite right. Remember the mantra "eating, drinking, peeing, pooping, and moving freely." If all of these aspects are normal, you are probably good to go.
Rider: It is easy to forget to take care of yourself on a ride. Drink plenty of fluids, and carry extra water on your horse (drink it too!). Be sure you eat well, and don't forget to replace your electrolytes (gatoraid, v-8 juice, dill pickles, or other salty snack) at the halfway. Try not to get caught up in the "race" and enjoy the adventure. (I have a real problem in this area)
All these things and previous posts said, it is an incredible experience to be involved in the journey. We have completed three rides, rider optioned one. I feel we had a "good" finish on two of them. Our first good completion was an indescribable AWESOME feeling. I had put so much work into my horse to finally get there...a little dream 20 years in the making to ride a Limited Distance ride. When I heard the vet say "congratulations you've completed" I had to turn away, swallow hard, and blink back tears. I was so proud of my little mare, and her effort. I've found the whole process humbling. When you think you know it all, distance riding will give you a quick kick in the pants to remind you that the trail is master.
Happy trails ~ E.G.
Discipline: LD/Endurance, CMO, Trail Rider, Cartoonist, Writer, Co-Director/ Green Bean Endurance
Favorite Links for training, gear, and memberships!
- National Association of Competitive Mounted Orienteering
- HOW TO CMO
- What is CMO?
- Old Dominion Endurance Rides
- Renegade Hoof Boots
- Riding vs. Racing a discussion with the Duck.
- Trumbull Mountain's INTRO TO ENDURANCE RIDING
- Principles of Conditioning
- Conditioning the endurance horse by SERA
- Short Article: Feeding & Training the Endurance Horse
- Feeding the Endurance Horse, Swedish Author
- Preventing Dehydration In the Endurance Horse, Ontario Competitive Trail Riding Association
- Jim Holland's fantastic training links here!
- South Eastern Distance Rider's Association