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

June 5, 2012

Sound Reasoning

"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 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.



  1. Excellent post. I have never so much as ridden a competitive trail ride, much less an LD or actual endurance ride. I hope to do the first two for sure and maybe the 3rd as well.

    Regardless of how someone spend time with their horse, a well trained horse with good manners and plenty of self control is asset.

    There is no less of a reason to have these things in place if the horse is simply a weekend trail horse or an Olympic caliber champion. ...and it takes time to put these things into place...sometimes lots of time.

    It sounds like you have a good plan - using the LD's until Journey has some confidence & experience under her belt. In time you will both be ready for the longer distances...and because you have carryfully done your homework at the shorter distances, it will increase your chances of success in the future....and for many years to come....with the same horse :)

  2. I feel a well-mannered and trained horse has a higher shot at survival if he needs a new home because I've dropped dead or something. A rearing-plunging, knows only how to run hard horse wouldn't have many choices for a new life. Especially once he was no longer sound to RUN. Honestly I'm not faulting those who run for placement sanely. There are some awesome trained fast horses out there, but then there are the ones that are going on nothing but adrenaline. Those scare the heck out of me.

  3. I would like to add a slightly different perspective and point out that some of the horses doing endurance are out there because they would never fit into most average riders' lives. Some are out there because they are horses that had too much energy to settle into any of the typical horse disciplines and need to be exercised for hours in order to take their edge off. So their owners consider less what would happen to them if they had to be rehomed and instead consider that the horse is privileged to have found someone who can handle that kind of excessive energy. The horse you see at the ride might have already improved drastically, having developed behavioral problems from trainers trying to handle them inappropriately. So perhaps to the owner one little rear before a start is wonderful, since this horse used to rear 20 times and buck them off. Sometimes what others see as a lack of training is actually a horse that is well on his way to becoming a better behaved mount.