"The LD is a ride to prepare the horse not a competition." ~ Eric Hought
I guess it depends on "who" is riding the LD, but on the whole that has become my idea that the purpose of an LD is preparation. Actual competition rides vs. at home conditioning rides teach you so much about horses and people. You see first hand the mighty big holes in training of some very fast horses. It is easy to get caught up in all that go, go, go. Only to find yourself going nowhere. I can think of one horse in particular that had a lot of heart (and go) which stopped her in her tracks. For good. So when I'm at rides I look, listen, and attempt to absorb something that may help us along the way. Watch for horses that are in the danger zone (often behaviorally). The front runners of the LD at TOR were mostly pulled for various reasons. The first guy in had his horse pulled for lameness. He had a scary fast ride time in the mud...same horse was a very bad actor at the start, where you kind of back off and make plenty of space so that rearing horse doesn't ruin YOUR day. Interestingly the front runner on the LD at Maumee was a bad actor before the start as well. If that is what it takes to "win" I want no part of it. That may sound kind of judgemental, maybe it is, but we all have our reasons for doing this thing, mine have evolved into something much slower, and so far more satisfying. A horse that can barely be controlled, and all it can do is run, well--- when he can't run anymore what kind of job is he going to have? He sure won't be anyone's pleasure horse. So to those who's mantra is training first (Hought, Chaton, Others), you are right. Dead right.
So now I move forward, using the 25 mile distance as preparation for the next leg of our adventure. Slowing our progress again to correct behavior, to go down hills straighter, to canter farther and change leads, to slowly build our average speed, and experiment on getting her recovery a bit more quickly; over all...to get all the mechanics running more smoothly. Can the short legged spotted wonder complete an ENDURANCE ride? Can my foot complete an ENDURANCE ride? Can I after all these years finally become ENDURANCE Granny?
Throwing down the gauntlet.
I think I just palpitated.
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