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

February 21, 2012

What do the numbers tell us?

Since I've struggled of late with keeping fresh thoughts on my blog (too much drama in my life currently) I thought I'd put to blog some thoughts about the numbers.  By numbers I mean AERC equine stats.  Now the stats tell you the distance and time of the rides competed in a given season.  But perhaps a study of the numbers can tell us something else?  For the purpose of this study I have chosen the stats of two riders who have horse's with extensive careers.  Numbers can't tell you everything, but they can be indicators of something.  Shall we start with horse #1?

Season #1:

Now I happen to know that this horse did some CTR's prior to the first LD/Endurance season and was a fit horse.  Still the rider rode very conservatively that first year in endurance, competed with no pulls or RO's, attempting a first 50 after a string of successful LD's.

Season #2:

I see here the horse getting a pretty strong run time at LD.  Perhaps the rider is on the fence...LD? or Endurance?

Season #3
25/ 3:20

A short season (rider may have had to set out the year for most of the season) but look at the consistency in rating the horse over the same course.   Did the faster times make the rider decide on a skinnier schedule?  Probably not, but I'm still googling over the rating control of those two rides.

Season #4

In the case of completions, did the rider get lost?  Take a wrong turn and have to repeat the course?  Again the last two 25's are pretty consistent time-wise.

Season #5

So what could have happened here?  The rider has shaved about an hour off their previous 50 mile ride time.  Were they riding LD pace?  Or just the rock with their name on it?

Season # 6

The horse had a pretty good season and looks like the rider is keeping the focus on LD.  The horse is also preforming at a faster ride pace at times, and completing some two day rides.

This horse went on for about twelve seasons.  Won two national CTR championships besides the long LD career, and career ended due to a serious health problem with the horse not related to distance riding.   The numbers don't tell you everything, but do reflect such things as consistency, improved ride times, and such.    What if anything do your ride numbers reflect about your horse?

Horse # 2....another day.  ~E.G.


  1. I gotta disagree fundamentally - I don't think those numbers tell us anything, unless she did the same rides year-to-year. Out here, we have such immense elevation / surface / weather changes in our ride season. Yall don't have the huge mountains to climb, but you do have tough rides that go up and down and up and down your little hills to get similar elevation gains over the course of the ride. And you get different but probably worse weather - I'll take a May snowstorm over a 90* 75% humidity May ride! A five hour 30 might be terribly slow or not shabby, depending on what 30 miles it is!

    Have you thought about lettering the rides that she repeats - like if she does the same 25 season opener, call it Ride A 25, and the same one in July a couple years in a row, call it Ride B 50?

  2. The point here is not what this horse's stats tell YOU about the horse. The point is what do YOUR HORSE's stats tell YOU about your progress with that horse. You actually kind of hit the nail on the head when you said compare ride A to ride A, and ride B to ride B. I used this riders numbers because I happen to know the rider, and know some background on the horse which enable me to make certain assumptions that others could not. I was looking at the stats on this horse as a whole/generalization already knowing the final outcome to some extent.

    So if you lined up Dixie's stats on a ride by ride basis, and compared rides over the same course, or as clusters over time what would you see? Something? Or nothing? The numbers can tell us something if we know the context of what happened on our own horse over a period of time.

    Not rocket science, not all inclusive, but interesting in the context of competing your own horse.

  3. Okay. I don't know how these will line up in the comment section. But here is a look at let's say RIDE C throughout this horse's career.
    This first cluster shows a definite improvement in time and pacing over the same course, same month of the year. The last two in the cluster were back to back rides showing incredible pacing of the ride. Luck? Horsemanship? Don't know. But interesting.

    For the most part the horse has this ride down to a sub-four hour ride. Ride times pretty consistent. The four hour + numbers are attached to a multi-day in both cases, paired with a faster 25.

    So the horse starts with a five hour+ ride time on the course and eventually pares it down to under three and half hours. The course is incredibly hilly, 900 ft. rolling up and downs that do not quit.