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

November 12, 2010


The Year in Review


The Past Three Years in Review


Count Your Blessings (afterall you are still alive)


If at first you don’t succeed…





I have been told that Endurance really isn’t or shouldn't be all that hard. I was pondering the various advice I've been given over the course of the past two tumultous years.

Here's a recap:
(an * denotes it actually worked for me)
Wait until your horse is four or five to start under saddle. *
Start your horse under saddle at three, but don't trail ride until five.
Start your horse under saddle at five, and don't start LD's until six.
Get a mentor and ride with a mentor.
Ride your own ride. *
Walk the uphills.
Trot the uphills.
Trot uphills slowly.*
Canter the uphills.
Walk the downhills.*
Learn to trot the downhills.
Start at the back.
Start at the back and wait for the crowd to leave.
Wait for the crowd to leave and add five minutes, then go.*
If your horse wants to race, let them run out that energy for the first mile.
Walk the first mile. *
Don't hold back a forward horse.
Walk the last half mile in.
Dismount and hand walk the last quarter mile in.*
Ask permission to pass on the trail.*
Don't litter.*
Ride a treeless saddle it is the best thing for the horses back and rider's comfort.
Don't ride treeless as it causes pressure points on the horse's back.
Go english it is light, and doesn't build heat.
Go western as the seat is more secure.
Ride whatever saddle fits.*
Don't feed grain (as in grain is the devil).
Feed the work (as in grain is not the devil but an energy source). Feed plenty.
Feed the work with well...what works.*
Don't feed alfalfa, bad for the kidneys too high in protein.*
Feed a little alfalfa at the hold as it helps to balance calcium in the electrolytes.*
Feed forage and only forage.
Feed forage and supplement with low starch (low NSC) concentrates.*
Pace your horse between 6-7 mph.*
Let your horse set it's own pace.
Your horse wants to race, let her.
Ride slow enough to use up all the time available to teach your horse not to race.*
Strength train on the hills. *
Interval train on the flats.*
Take my crop to that horse, and move her on down the trail (last LD).
Slow that horse down considerably, plenty of walking (last LD).*
Test for Selenium.
Testing for selenium is a waste of money.
Supplement with Selenium, Magnesium, and Vitamin E. (per ride vet)*
Supplements are a waste of money. (personal vet)
Keep your horse bare, don't use boots.
Don't shoe.
Boot your horse.
Use Easyboots.*
Use Renegade Boots.
Use B-4 Boots.
Glue your boots on.
Strap your boots on.*
To hell with boots!
Get a farrier and put shoes on my horse.
Give electrolytes (per ride vets).*
Don't give electrolytes.
Sponge your horse but not over the back or rump.*
Pour copious amounts of water all over the horse.
Use splint boots to protect the lower legs.
Avoid splint boots as they build up heat.
The rider should be as fit as the horse.(well there goes most of the 50+ set of us).
At the hold feed your horse anything she will eat.
At the hold do not feed concentrates.*
At the hold feed forage only.*
Use sprints during training.
Don't ride faster than a trot until your horse has a few years of LD's.
Train using a heart rate monitor.*
Heart rate monitors are a waste of money.
Use a wool saddle pad.
Use a skito pad.*
Use whatever pad works.
You must use a snaffle bit.
A long shank bit.
No! Use an S-Hack.*
Use a mechanical hack with the longest shanks you can find for brakes! (thanks FUNDER!)
Biothane reins are great.
Biothane reins are slippery.
Sport reins will get you entangled.
Split reins are too easy to drop.
Dare I add...BINDER TWINE? Put it in your cantle pack, oh....pommel pack!
Easyride Stirrups with cages.
Cages are for sissys.
Ride a season before you ride a multiday.
Ride two seasons before you ride a multiday.
If you can ride a multiday, you can ride a 50.

Care to hum along? (to the tune of R-O-C-K-Y) Care to ride along...and just have some fun?
I’ve come to the conclusion that opinions are like…well…you know, everybody has one ! Now don’t take that as a personal offense. I appreciate advice, especially the advice that works out. That's why I ask so many questions. Really. It isn’t your fault when it won't work for us, it is just the way that it is. There is also a very good reason for it. Horses are as individualized as we are, and inherently more fragile. They can’t puke if something upsets their stomach, and they can’t tell us something is wrong until we are able to recognize a hitch in their giddy-up. The horse personality and the response to stress is unique. What works for your horse may very well not work for mine. I want your advice, and I appreciate it too, but I have to run it through the filter of who I am, and more importantly the horse I ride, and do the best I can. Endurance may indeed be easy, FOR YOU. For some it is an uphill climb and a downhill scramble, but it is always an ADVENTURE! AND I LOVE IT.


  1. Hear hear!

    The only thing you forgot is headgear - Ride in an S hack so the horse can eat. Ride in a mechanical hack so you have some brakes. Ride in a bit because hackamores are cruel / don't give lateral control.

  2. "Warm up for the first half hour on the trail."

    "NO!--warm up for at least an hour in camp."

    ...and on, and on.

  3. I laughed out loud reading this. I've been told all this and more. My horse was pulled from Foxcatcher in April because of cardiac arrhythmia, due to what we thought was an electrolyte imbalance. I spent the summer bringing him back from square one. Today, we found out his still has heart issues, but selectively followed advice allowed us to finish the Mustang Memorial 50 with A's almost all the way across the card.

  4. excellent post! there are as many opinions as there are riders and horses! and if you were talking about a different horse, you'd have starred different ones that worked for you.
    and i'd disagree about the first statement that endurance really isn't or shouldn't be all that hard. it is hard because you have to figure out what is best for you and your horse. sometimes there's a LOT of trial and error in doing that.
    - The Equestrian Vagabond

  5. EG, What a list! That you have survived, and accomplished so much, with such conflicting advice is a real testament to you! It's good to be able to hear other's opinions, I guess, but it is even better when you have enough self-confidence to decide what you think is best for you and Phebes. Or to try something, and then later, try something else. Double kudos to both of you!