Of all the starting out concepts, I suppose the learning curve on this one has been my own private purgatory. I think a much better way of putting it when starting a horse new to the sport is "Ride Your own Horse's Ride." It doesn't matter how competitive you happen to feel, act, be...it's the horse that really needs to fit that little kernel of truth. His brain is about the size of an unshelled walnut, so the thinking on riding your own (horse's) ride will be totally on your shoulders.
Honestly it can be really hard not to get caught up into the chase at a ride. The horse usually is totally dedicated to going with the herd. It is instinct. Instinct can get you into trouble here. If the controls are working on your horse you can pull off the trail, calm your horse, and continue on at the correct pace. I know of some pretty prestigious riders who have pulled off, got off, and worked their horse from the ground until able to reengage the brain. When it comes to riding your (horse's) own ride, do what you have to and get it right!
So what is slow? Only your rides on your own horse can answer that. One person's slow is 4 mph (too slow to finish) another's can be the 6-7 mph. IT ALL DEPENDS ON THE HORSE. Your brain, not the walnut sized apparatus between Old Dobbin's ears has to figure that out.
So what is too fast? IT ALL DEPENDS ON THE HORSE. Simplistic? Yes, but it is the truth. Fast for me is 8 mph because that is the best Journey can hold up to at this point and not for long either! Fast for an experienced horse may be intermittently trucking along at 8, 9, 10 mph. Define where your horse is in the process and proceed according to the horse's ability.
As a newbie, riding a newbie horse this may be the most important concept for you to grasp. You aren't riding at your level, your dream, your anything. It all needs to gear towards the individual horse's ability, and where the horse is at in the process. That my friends is the golden nugget of keeping a beginner distance horse sound, sane, and safe. It was a very had lesson for me to learn. But I finally had to wave the white flag of surrender and ride my horse's own ride. You know what? It worked.
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