Phebes and I have done very well of late with rating our speed (meaning steady, but slow). I know the only way that I'm going to be able to make that happen for us at a ride is to start at the very back like we did at Spook Run last year, and keep an empty pocket to ride in even if I have to stop on trail to let the traffic clear away. But right now I'm very happy with her stellarly turtle-like pace. She is comfortable, and I am comfortable. This seems a much better place to build from if I can keep it glued together when all other factors come into play. We did encounter other riders at the park last weekend, and she was okay with that since we were passing them (those horses were walking, where as we were trotting). I figure the worst thing we can have happen is to draft somebody as that is definitely when she gets her brain out of gear and the lovely ride unravels (so we are training with some our speed or by ourselves). We have a game plan (Phebes doesn't know about it, but we DO have a plan, I'm pretty sure what Phebe's opinion would be about the plan).
Last weekend was the longest training ride we have ever done at 24 miles or so, at least with half of it a solo ride. Previously our training distance rarely exceeded 15 miles at a session. I'm a little uncomfortable with these longer (over 20 mile) conditioning rides because unlike at an actual event, you do not have on site veterinary back up if you suddenly encounter a problem. We are being careful. My very long term goal is to eventually get her so comfortable with the 30 mile distance that she is successfully able to ride two in a weekend. Once back to back 30's are comfortable, maybe....a 50 (I'm not holding my breath on that one, but one can dream). I have to have a much better horse than I'm seeing right now if ever I'm to do that. I keep picking up the puzzle, turning it around and around, yet I'm stepping outside my rhelm of actual experience now, so far it is working out mostly okay, but I'm a worrier by nature. Some issues remain, but I think I'll get those worked out (less electrolytes, better appetite, rating, and pushing out her endurance). I know I've read, and heard that you don't have to ride 25 miles to do a 25 mile ride, or 30 to do a 30. When we've went to a LD ride in each and every instance Phebes did not maintain her go throughout the ride. She falters at mile 20-25 and those last 5 miles to 30 scare me just a little bit when you begin having to encourage forward movement. Not dead dog beat, still able to pick up a trot, but more or less over it on the whole. It has gradually improved over the rides we've completed, but still in my mind a tired horse by the end. A horse fit to continue? Yes, or we wouldn't have completed. But my ultimate goal for a distance horse is "looks like they could do it again." I've seen a few of those at endurance rides (yes, I've seen other tired horses at rides besides my own) I want to know how to get my horse to that fabulous and fit place, from where we are right now, and how to stretch that LSD slowly up to longer distances.
Here are random thoughts on a loosely scribed game plan for the next 4 weeks anyway...and I'd love to hear other's comments. Believe it or not, I DO ROLL THEM AROUND in my brain and try to take what is useful to heart. Would be great for some input from others on Session # 1 (fill in the blank). Keeping in mind the goal of stretching her distance (with no thought to any kind of speed, we are averaging 4-5.5 mph).
#1. Back to back training days (____ miles X's 2 days in a row) once every 7-10 days.
#2. Hill sessions (1/2 mile hill sessions X 6 repetitions)once weekly.
#3. 1 hour sessions twice weekly just to keep her loosened up.
#4. Rest days X 3 each week (life and work ladies...)
Would it be reasonably safe to approach the #1 training session in this manner if she's eating, drinking, and continues to rate? She's fit, we've just taken a different approach.
week 1 15/15
week 2 15/20
week 3 15/25
week 4 15/30
Currently things are going pretty well overall, and know I won't attempt back to back training unless the elyte/appetite issue has been worked out first. What's been suggested and done in the past hasn't necessarily worked, so tweak we will. There is a saying that goes "If you don't want what you've always had, quit doing what you've always done." ~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