Endurance Terminology 101
Sandbagging: A horse that is fine, has plenty of go, but presents itself as "on its last leg."
My last ride on Journey made me question this possibility for the first time with her. It has worried me through this starting up process that I'd over ride
her, under ride her, or just in general "break" her somehow. It usually starts at about ten miles. Journey gets the "draggy trot". I mean draaaaaaaaaaaagggggggggggggy at about 4.5 mph. Then I start thinking something is up. I begin getting on and off checking her, checking boots, checking for cuts, scrapes, rubs. In essence rewarding her for stopping. It became very much in evidence last ride as she not only stopped, but took her nose and nudged my foot which is her signal for get off please! As I said in a previous post I found nothing amiss except I knew she needed to pee, and I really think she just wanted to stand at the waterhole and have herself a nap! There was certainly nothing worrisome about her pulse (50), her appetite (HUGE), equipment all looked good. At one point later she cantered down a gravel road and didn't even get winded...what to do with the Spotted Wonder?
So when a horse sandbags, how do YOU handle it?
I generally try to err on the side of safety, and even more so since Phebes (who presented as fine but wasn't fine). If Journey is going to complete a 50 at some point, she has to get her trotting speed up as we are just too close to margin to finish otherwise. The best average I've had with her over thirteen miles is about 5.5 mph (this included the fifteen minutes total of stopping, checking, pulsing and ummmm....sandbagging). My goal next time out is to try and get the A+B loops (ten miles) done in 1:40 or < and over the next few weeks try to hammer that down my just a little each time if I can. I'll run the pulse monitor to make sure she stays generally aerobic in the process including her cantering portions.
On her pulse downs I've got to figure out how to get her down more quickly. After much thought on it I've decided that Journey does not like to be sponged with water. Last weekend was the first time on a hot ride that I didn't immediately begin sponging when I came in. I was going to, but I'd loosened her girth, and put some things in the trailer, walked back and checked pulse and it was down to 51 in about the space of two minutes. After I thought about it, when sponging at the creek, every time I wetted her down her pulse jumped up. She doesn't like a bath AT ALL, and I'm beginning to believe that she does not enjoy sponging either and it is causing her pulse to spike, instead of fall. She seems more inclined to want her face and ears rubbed vigorously with towel, and to get her nose into some good hay which is what we did over the weekend.
Perhaps I can let her just pulse down naturally, and worry about sponging after the vet check if I feel she needs it? I'm going to try that a few conditioning rides and see what happens.
There is the peeing thing too...working on that one. I can't whistle, and use a different cue, but yeah, we are working on it.
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