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

July 24, 2012

Appaloosa Endurance Horses & Endurance Questions

I'd be very curious to know how many Appaloosa horses compete in the distance disciplines.  Registered horses, and horses of Appaloosa type (based on white sclera, striped hooves, coat markings, and other body landmark qualifiers).  I was so saddened to not be able to compete Journey within the Appaloosa Horse Club's distance program, however, it sounds like keeping things straight has become somewhat of a nightmare!  There used to be an Appaloosa group here in the midwest, don't know what happened to that organization, but I'll sure jump on board if it ever comes back!

Looking at older books on the sport I get so excited when they illustrate the horse for distance and it is an Appaloosa!  In our region you see a few, maybe one or two at each ride I've attended.  Maybe a few Morgan horses competing, with the rest pretty much Arabian, Anglo-arabian, and half-arabian.  My short little snooker faced mare makes them give me "the look."  That is fine, so long as the spotted wonder is eating, drinking, and managing 5 mph all is good ☺  I love to hear people from other regions talk about the diversity of breeds in their clubs, it inspires me with hope.


Since I've thrown down the gauntlet finally for a 50 mile completion attempt I thought I'd read up on the rules.  I'm unclearing (even though I've read through it) about when time starts and stops with Endurance.  In LD the clock is ticking until the horse pulses to criteria (PITB).
* Coming into an endurance check when does ride time stop?  At the in gate?
*Then you have 30 minutes to pulse down and present your horse?
* Or present your horse right away, and go into your hold time?  Here I'm kind of muddy and it is rather important to understand.  Mel? Funder? Anyone?       
* On a 50 mile you usually have three loops,  two holds, and  a final check?
*Is pulse criteria still 60?


Then some questions about pacing.

*Ride faster the first loop?
*Save it for the last loop?
*Be a steady Eddie? (6 mph all day long)


And!  I've realized that Journey's 5 mph pace probably won't cut it on an E ride.  I have only about eight weeks to tweak that up, up, up....or continue LD's and wait until 2013.


  1. Well, I can't answer your questions from experience, but I will offer what I do know just from riding/training with various 50 mile riders in the past and watching them and asking alot of questions. Maybe it help , maybe not but thought I would pass along what I have seen.. BTW- YOU GO GIRL for chasing that 50 mile dream down!!
    Pulse Criteria- rides I have been on they horses have to be at criteria the minute they come in. I have seen that criteria vary, depending on terrain, weather. This past weekend , criteria was 64. If I am not mistaken, the rules of pulse in to final is still in effect for 50's. As soon as the pulse is down, that's your in time. Your out time is generally a 45 to 1 hr from that in time, again depending . The vet/ride manager usually influences this.
    The people I know who have done 50's , 100's , even Tevis, generally try to ride smart. They make time where they can (flats) save their horse where they have to (Hills) and try to keep as steady of a pace as possible.

    So, for what it's worth, that's all I know... which isn't much.. Hope you get some clarification from folks who have been there and done it...

  2. We have maybe a half dozen appy's that I've seen running around our region, one in particular that I've seen doing endurance just fine and even doing two 50s back to back with a heavy weight rider. We have a few Morgans as well out here, maybe a dozen or two paso finos, and a hodge-podge of gaited and arab crosses.

    While I am no expert in endurance yet your time is called when you cross the finish line and then you have thirty minutes to get your pulse down. Pulse is 60, and usually it's three loops but sometimes it's four with holds arranged however ride management wanted it.

    As far as pacing... I can't ride loose reined before about 15 miles so it's really just however Rose is feeling. If your looking to try some training things our endurance vets out here advised that if my horse could do 50 miles in two days of riding then they were ready for a 50. I'd say try upping your pace to 7 mph just so that if you need that extra time later do to issues you have it.

    No expert but my response to what your asking. So excited for you guys moving up!

  3. You have to pulse down to get your time and start the hold time, in my experience. No, it's not 3 loops and 2 holds, it's whatever the ride manager pleases and can come up with for trail. I've done 25-25s, 10-25-15, etc. Have been to rides with 3 holds, and plenty with 2 of course.

    As for the pacing, it depends on your horse's abilities (hill horse? flat horse?), how well they care for themselves, the temperature, and the terrain. On a hot ride you of course want to make time in the morning, on a flatter ride you can plan to cruise steadily (perhaps at a faster pace) throughout. If you know there is a giant hill in some part of the course, you plan accordingly.

  4. There is an Appy in the NE that has done quite a few fifties. Bask n Coins. Not sure how many miles she has, but she's an appy/arab cross. She's a leopard, so quite quite noticeable :-) You should be able to look up her AERC record on the website.

    A friend of mine, who has over ten thousand AERC miles tells me all the time that my target should be negative splits. Start slow and gradually pick up speed through the day. It's hard to do though!

    Mid checks are gates into holds. Your hold time starts when you reach parameter. At the finish, your ride time stops when you cross the finish line. So at the mid checks, you want to reach parameter as fast as possible since the clock is running. At the finish, you can take your time if you want and get her nice and cool and relaxed before getting a pulse and vetting through. But not TOO long, since they can start to get a bit stiff and/or muscle sore.

  5. * Coming into an endurance check when does ride time stop? At the in gate?
    At a mid-ride checkpoint, your hold time will start when your horse reaches pulse criteria, just like in an LD. For the FINISH, you ride time stops as soon as you cross the finish line. Period, done. You then have 60 minutes per AERC rules, but many rides can and may use 30 minutes, to reach the final pulse criteria.

    *Then you have 30 minutes to pulse down and present your horse?
    Per the AERC rulebook, you have 60 minutes to pulse down and present your horse, but rides may use 30 minutes. Pay attention at the ride meeting and ask if you're not sure. At the rides I go to, generally you don't have to pulse separately (like the LD's do to get a finish time), but rather just present to the vet for the final completion exam and heart rate will be checked there as part of that exam.

    * Or present your horse right away, and go into your hold time? Here I'm kind of muddy and it is rather important to understand. Mel? Funder? Anyone?
    For a mid-ride HOLD, you have 30 minutes from your arrival time, to reach the pulse criteria, same as in an LD. Your HOLD time starts when the pulse criteria is reached. Keep in mind that this doesn't stop the RIDE CLOCK (i.e. 6 hrs for a 25, 12 hrs for a 50), holds are included in that time. So for example:
    50-mile ride starts at 7 am, you HAVE to be across the finish line (no pulse) by 7 pm, any holds included.
    You arrive at the hold at 10:00 am, you have until 10:30 am to reach pulse criteria, or it is a metabolic pull. You reach pulse criteria at 10:10 am, so that is when your hold time starts (say 30 minutes). You are allowed to leave the hold at 10:40 am in this example.

    * On a 50 mile you usually have three loops, two holds, and a final check?
    *Is pulse criteria still 60?
    These will depend upon how ride management has strucutred the trail and what pulse criteria the vets and ride management want to use. They can use higher (and at times lower) than 60 if chosen, but these are generally fairly standard by geographical area/vets. We tend to see one long leg of 20-25 miles and two others of various distances. 60 pulse is normal out here in Nevada.

    For pacing, just don't let her go out too fast. If you generally average 6 mph on training rides, make sure she keeps it under 7-7.5 mph average for the first couple of hours. After that you both should be settled enough to proceed along at your normal and comfortable pace.

  6. Looks like Crysta did an excellent job of answering the questions so I have nothing to add :). Catching up on my blog reading as you can probably tell.

  7. Same as Mel!

    There was an Appy that got pulled at Gold Country :( but I haven't noticed many out here.

    I do about like C said, I let Dixie move out at 7 mph when it's cool in the morning, because I know she'll get tired and hot after lunch. I don't think we're ready for advanced racing techniques like negative splits yet. Or maybe ever! And you just don't really know what the loops/holds are going to be until the actual ride meeting - sometimes it's what the flyer says, but sometimes they change it. I prefer two checks, and I prefer away checks, but you take what you get, y'know?

  8. Couple Appys and AppX's at Tevis this year: