Contact information:

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

July 28, 2012

Newbie's Corner: Strategy

Perhaps because this entire sport has not come easy to me I am fascinated by such things as ride strategy.  In my latest read here are a few of the tips I picked up that may or may not work for you, but are fun to contemplate, and easy to implement into your own ride strategy.

 Bright Ideas

*Ride to your horse's strengths:  If your horse is strong on the uphills, or the downhills, or the flats, ride to that strength using the horse's talent to your personal advantage.
*Train to your horse's weakness:  If you know your horse has a lousy uphill, focus on improvement of that in training.
*Do not race into the early vet checks:  I'm not a racing type, but this makes sense when the clock is running to come into the check with respiration and pulse as low as you can get it.
*The race is won on the trail, not at the finish line:  think on that one....perfect sensible advice.
*When the footing is good always take the inside of a curve in the trail:  you can save your horse a lot of steps by doing this.
*And for the "sandbagging horse":  try to keep another horse on your horse's radar, it will keep them motivated.
*Coming into the check,  Ease up on your pace about 3 miles from the vet check, give the horse a pace breather for about a mile, then power up again for a mile, at a mile out slow back down to a lazy easy pace, at a half mile from the check get off and run along with your horse for a quarter mile (I just dropped dead), and for the last quarter mile from the check loosen the horse's girth, drop the bit, and hand walk that horse in.  The reasoning behind this is that it allows the horse to recover before they vet in, hence you do not loose time at the check.  The theory is that it takes less time to do this, than fret and hustle to get the horse down in ride camp.  I'm going to try it.
*Get to the out-timer ahead of time:  Minutes of your ride time can be lost by puttering around and missing your out time.

Any guesses as to the book I'm reading?



  1. To add another perspective --- the race is won in the vet checks, first to pulse in gets out ahead of others that may take longer to meet criteria. I pass far more horses in the vet checks than I do on the trail :).

  2. Another perspective---on my drive back from Kentucky I was thinking EXACTLY that very idea. Perhaps that is what the author actually meant because his concept was to ride very conservatively into the check, getting off a half mile out, jogging beside the horse for a quarter mile, then loosening the girth and walking in SO THEY CAN PULSE DOWN QUICKLY. So absolutely!