Having had the opportunity to ride over the past few days I've seen that Journey is not a horse that holds condition well. Four weeks off you can really tell you've set back a little. The big change though is her struggle with the humidity. I'm not thinking the spotted wonder would have a shot in heck doing a humid ride at least as things stand right now. Being not overly fond of hot and humid myself I'm all for hanging where we are until the weather breaks about September. We do however need to train in order to be ready then so we are back at it for hour to hour and a half sessions. We rode our ride fairly early this morning to beat the heat, but the humidity was like pea soup.
Our splits are looking a little better. The course is problematic for pushing for more speed since the flats are short, the hill climbs are steep, and the downhills are steep. Difficult to get up a head of steam before you have to shut down to shimmy downhill again. We do better on our averages when we hall to the park to take advantage of service roads and maintained trails versus the bush-wacking along unmowed and sometimes rutted logging roads, dodging ground hog holes and such here at home. On the other hand, home is much easier and time saving, and gas saving. I save the park rides when I'm pushing for miles, and trying to train to better our time, and our at home rides for hillwork, and cantering since she is more used to the trails. We just can't really stretch out at the canter as a quarter of a mile is about all the flat trail I can find before I hit a big downhill. Speaking of the downhills, Journey is starting to find her balance on those big hills. Today for the first time ever we went down our steepest hill which is sort of a switchback that I dismounted and hand walked her down for months ( because it was like riding kamikaze horse heading for your death), we went down today on a loose rein. I could have kissed the spotted wonder on the lips I was so pleased.
I'm just happy in general with Journey though. Though she isn't athletic in the way Phebes was, she greets me at the fence, she drops her little nose into her halter, never walks away from me. She can be lazy... won't ever set a blistering pace but I find her stretching up to a 9 mph trot now and then (potential!), when before I thought she couldn't, and we do short bursts of cantering and she has not offered to bolt or buck in a long time now, I'd guess I'd have to say I like her, and enjoy the time we spend together. It is starting to feel like a partnership and that feels good.
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