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Count Your Blessings (afterall you are still alive)
If at first you don’t succeed…
HIT THE PLAY BUTTON TO SET THE MOOD, THEN READ ON....
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.*
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.
Boot your horse.
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.
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