I'm a rarity I guess. My horse-life has been pretty much spread out on this blog for people to see. Including my mistakes, blunders, heart-wrenching happenings, but also my successes. Sometimes people wonder why...WHY would I put that on my blog? My answer to that is that I wish that everyone else would. The nature of distance riding is such that it is a challenging sport, and sometimes the outcome we wished for is not the outcome we get. Stuff can and does go very wrong. Ideally, it never does, but every time you look at ride results and 38/40 finished, then two horses ended up with a bad day. But mostly nobody talks about it. I'd like to say that they should! I see each competition or training ride as a great big petri dish full of bacterial soup waiting to germinate. Will it be good? Or will it be bad? I've boiled down what happened to Phebes as "rider error." Not the kicking myself stupid kind of mistake, but I've figured it out after the fact kind of mistake. Too much time off after a 50 mile weekend. I'll lay it out on my blog for all to see, because they may have a young extremely fit mare with a hot temperment. Maybe my honesty will keep them from making the same rider error. People enjoy telling of their successes, and sometimes there are lessons in those, but more often we learn our valuable lessons from figuring out our blunders. If we are steered away from blunder by those who have been there...done that...what a wonderful thing! So we as riders need to share our little failures in hopes that someone else won't repeat that leg of our journey. I was so happy to ride my Phebes yesterday, short as the session was. Her soft collected little floating on air trot, it is magical. Kissing her soft muzzle and gazing into her eyes and seeing her mommy in there is too. Love your horses, and when you can help out a newbie to the sport by encouraging, or steering them away from disaster because you've been there, done that, please do. Distance riding has been the most life changing, challenging, fun thing I've done with my life. It has also been the most satisfying of any activity that I've participated. It is an amazing sport, it has its hazards and pitfalls (kind of like life), but at the end of the day, as you cross the finish the pride in your horse and your accomplishment that day is immeasurable.
If your horse competes hard on a weekend, and it rains a deluge for two weeks...give your horse no stall time post ride, and put on your heavy rain slicker, and ride your muddy horse at least 30 minutes a day. Reduce feed to 1/3 of the normal ration, and remove all grain products from the diet during the offtime (stick with straight roughage). This is not a guarantee that your fit young mare won't cramp up...but you will hedge the bet in your favor.
Someone should really write a book on the various pitfalls, how to avoid them, how to fix them, a book on the downside of an upside sport. Until they do, I'm posting mine here.
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