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

December 18, 2010

LD riders check out Angie McGhee's Consider this blog

Blogger is giving me issues this morning, the link can found on the right hand side-bar: Consider This (below my favorite blog list)  or in the comment section of this post.


What is the sport of Limited Distance?  Is it a training ground? Or a race course? It is interesting to consider the difference.  Is Limited Distance a legitimate sport in its own right?  Or is it a tool for a journeyman endurance rider?   None, or all of the above?

As a barely getting it done LD rider I consider the shorter mileages a training ground and a trail of discovery.  The fact is though, that not every horse is cut out for Endurance, and not every rider is fit enough to ride Endurance, so LD becomes a venue of its own.    Phebes and I may never get there, but does that mean that our efforts are not worthwhile?  What if her career is strictly LD?  Do I gather up my toys and go home or do I take pride in pushing our limits of accomplishment?  Am I a lesser competitor even though I am constantly pushing my own boundaries?  Where do we fit within the jigsaw of puzzle of distance riding?

My thoughts on the problems of what makes LD separate from Endurance is that the organization allows racing and placements in LD.   If LD is to be a training ground for Endurance shouldn't it truly be "To Finish is to Win"?  Wouldn't it make more sense to award riders because they finished within a time window that kept a steady pace of (fill in the blank) mph?  That would be a teaching and training tool meant strictly for moving up in distance.  When you throw racing into the mix those dynamics factors into everyone's ride.   I'm not waving the banner for or against this, but "just saying."     And what about accumulation of miles?  If LD riders are under the same umbrella as Endurance riders per the ride organization, why is mile accumulation separate?  Because LD is not Endurance.   It is not the same challenge, not the same distances, not the same risk, not the same ride. In fact it is only 1/4-1/2 the distance of getting there.  It is either a training ground for Endurance, a racing course for those who like to ride blazing fast, or a mileage course for those who for whatever reason aren't ready, willing, or able to go that longer distance.  It does not make LD a non-sport, just a different sport.  Like a runner doing a 5 K vs. a marathon, totally different sport.  A great short distance runner may be ill equipped to finish a marathon.

So what do I call myself under the AERC ride umbrella?  A novice LD rider, because LD is what I do.   If ever we are doing it well I'll still be an LD rider until I move on a higher distance.  In the meantime I'll just have to hang my mouth open in awe of those incredible Endurance athletes doing the longer distances so well and aspire to some day get there myself.  ~E.G.


  1. I believe there is a sport that doesn't go by placing or "racing". It is called CTR competitive trail riding. If we didn't give places in LD and had them just ride within a certain criteria there wouldn't be much to distinguish it from CTR's.


  2. Michelle,

    CTR certainly does have placings, but it is based on a point system connected to your horse's "condition" at finish. Your placement is based on your final score. It is my understanding that CTR spun off of endurance back in the day when veterinary controls were not what they are today, and many felt the welfare of the horse was being placed in jeapardy and a new sport was born that put the horse's condition paramount in order to win. Endurance back in the day was very different from what we see today if the lore from the "old timers" is correct.

    In CTR basically the best condition horse wins as long as you come in within a certain time frame. Have you ever ridden one of these? It puts a whole new spin on horsemanship as the points tick away for a scrape on the pastern, a pulse two points too high, rating too fast and losing points because you came in early. A much more technical sport in my opinion.

    The jist of my post was not a poke at how LD's are done or people who race. They are what they are, but they are still LD's, not Endurance, and that was the point. If my understanding is correct LD became a sport with the mindset of being a training ground for young horses or novice riders prior to moving up to endurance, although it is evident that folks don't necessarily move up to the higher distances. I assume they have their reasons, as do I.