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

August 18, 2012

Easing in...

We did our park training loop today.  Working still on getting that pulse down.  We again missed an improvement on our speed...well sort of; but not exactly. Because since last weekend, I leave the clock running until she pulses down, so the previous runs I have to compare to are not the same as I shut down the Garmin when I came in.  So based on that, today would have been a faster ride.

Distance:         10.37 mi
 Time:              1:43:31
Avg Pace:        9:59 min/mi
Avg Moving Pace: 9:39 min/ mi
Best Pace        4:30 min/mi
Average Speed: 6 mph

So we were able to pulse down, and maintain our 6 mph average.  I'm very happy with that.  Now we need to be able to do that for at least two loops, but don't plan a long run again until two weeks ahead of our next competition.

Journey gave an epic spin back at the canter today.  A crazed squirrel came barreling out in front of us and she just reacted BOOM!  We ended up face first into the brush looking the opposite direction.  She was kind of wiggy after this, and didn't want to maintain a canter...some kind of horse / squirrel quantum physics logic thing I guess.  To avoid squirrels on the super highway, don't canter.  That would be it in a "nutshell".  (sorry couldn't help myself).  

As for getting a quick pulse down today (I'd say about a minute), I eased off the pace a mile out from finish, alternating walking, with a slow trot.  A quarter mile from the finish we dropped to a walk, and then at the service road in about 1/16th of a mile I got off,  loosened her girth, dropped her bit, and handwalked her in.  No that is not accurate, I about had to draaaaaaaaaaaaaag her in because she was in "I can't possibly walk faster than 2 mph mode."  HORSE!   

So in we come, she grabs some hay and starts chewing, gets a mouth full of grain and her pulse pops up.  I asked LSEGH to take the grain away until she pulsed.  I sponged her about a half minute, checked, and she was down to 51 bpm.  We are getting it figured out.  I'm just going to have to garner enough speed out on the trail, to allow me the luxury of hand walking her in.  It really helped bringing that pace down gradually.  The walk trot intervals in particular I feel was very helpful.  

Journey was panting again today.  I've never had a horse that pants (all arabs for the most part previously), so this is new to me.  I know it was frowned on much more back in the day than it is now, and some horses use that as a cooling mechanism.  Soon as I backed off though it quickly resolved.  

The only tack issue we had today was the electrode for the heart rate monitor put an indentation on her back where it was under the saddle.  Over longer mileage I think it might have been a problem.  Next time I'm going to place it in a different spot and see if that helps.  If not, I'll go back to the hand held.  The pulse monitor has been very helpful of late though to know when to back off for a while.  Using it I've been able to keep pulse down below 156 on even uphill canters.  

For the most part we have no news, which is usually GOOD NEWS.


  1. I put one electrode at either end of the girth and don't have any issues using it that way. The most annoying bit is saddling up, cos you can't attach the second electrode until you are doing the girth up, but you get the hang of it.

  2. I was unaware that you could do this....I'll sure give it a shot!

    1. Hope it helped! :)

      I've been thinking quite a bit about average speeds and making it under maximum time, as I've been reading a few blogs about endurance in the US.

      The only thing I can conclude is that the vetting procedures make a difference. And I'm really starting to think I like the way we run rides here (in Australia). Most of our rides run under AERA (Australian Endurance Riders Association) rules, which are our own rules - apparently no other country uses these rules. We do also run FEI rides, with FEI rules, but the majority of rides are AERA rides. I have only ridden at 2 rides that used Vet Gate Into Hold (VGIH), which is more like FEI. And I found them quite stressful. With my limited experience, I find the AERA rides more relaxing.

      One of the differences that I have noticed between what some US bloggers describe and the rides I've been to is leg distances and hold times. For example, I've read about vet checks/hold times at 25 mile LD rides (we call them training rides - 40km). I have never heard of that here - we just go out and ride 40km, and come back to base. Riding time finishes when you cross the line, and you have 30 mins until you need to present to the vet. So there is no non-riding time in a 40km ride (for hold). Hold times add up! And there is a HUGE emphasis on non-competitiveness in LD/40km rides (which was reinforced by vote at the last AGM). There are no divisions (weight/junior), no places and no mileage/points accumulated.

      This carries on to our endurance rides (80km/50miles or more). It is not uncommon to have a 45km or 50km leg on an endurance ride - many of my endurance friends prefer a 45 or 50km first leg (this would be 28 to 31 miles). So you ride 50km before doing any vet checks or holds. And it is very unusual to have more than one vet-check in an 80km ride. The less hold time you have, the shorter the day is - with AERA rides, your 'out' time is 1 hour after your 'in' time (with vetting at the 30min mark).

      (I have just thought of one 40km ride that had a heart rate gate mid-way).

      Are these things very different from your rides in the US? Do you think they would make a big difference? I wonder because I have done some pretty slow rides, and have only once been close to maximum time (I took 9.5 hours riding time for 80km).