Let me say..."that was the most fun I've ever had on horseback." I drove up to Salamonie which is in Andrews Indiana on Friday. Left home at about noon, and it took three hours to haul up there. I did okay once I unplugged the TomTom. If that thing told me to make a right one more time....it insisted I go to Indianapolis, which would have made a four hour drive and a lot more interstate driving. TomTom be damned...I made it without getting lost.
LSEGH sat this one out, so sorry no photos.
I was paired up with a rider who had three CMO's under her belt, a day rider who was doing her second (the first she did back in the 80's...) and she's also an endurance rider that I've talked to at various rides, and a another rider who was very nice but possessing dubious directional and map reading ability. Four more or less newbies with various stages of aptitude rating from 0-10.
So morning of...we were instructed to show up for the ride meeting at 10:30 AM (yes, you get to sleep until you are ready to wake up). So about then you mosey up, fill out your paperwork. When you are ready to leave you come back to the ride managers, and get your map with the target areas which are circled and numbered. They wave goodbye, record your time, and you are off! Well folks, you are aware that I am somewhat directionally challenged even when there are ribbons marking the trail. If I'd have gone the course alone it would have been a very bad experience. I CAN'T READ A MAP FOR CRAP. Will have to develop some skills in that area. But what I can do is find a target if I have the coordinates. I turned into a target finding fool on Saturday snabbing at least 6 of the 10 codes myself. Today, was difficult. We spent an hour in a meadow and kept coming back to the same spot, and not finding anything. Our navigator stood and pointed a line for me and scrabbled off Journey and braved timber rattlers (okay, there weren't really any snakes) trying to find the target. We were beside ourselves knowing we had it, but where was it. Turned out in was in the foliage right above our map readers head, pinned into the leaves flat. It had been over her head for fifteen or twenty minutes while the rest of us searched. I was feeling bad that I'd only found one today, but on the last one again we were thwarted, and I decided again to get on foot and follow the line a little farther in the wood line, and BINGO! It got us the tenth set of code so we found all targets both days.
I joined CMO and THE SPOTTED WONDER now has 20 CMO points! Even more exciting I found out that this little mare has been doing some sandbagging as she was hauling some serious butt on Saturday for twenty miles. My endurance friend was leading the trail from point to point with her seasoned horse, and Journey was hanging right in there, really digging in. This sport is a lot of fun, and if you are bringing along a distance horse it would be excellent for teaching all those important trail skills you need before you do endurance. You camp, you walk, you trot, canter, and gallop. You stop, your horse has plenty of time to tank up, or graze on grass, because though you are on the clock, there is NO TIME LIMIT. If you wanted to you could go out and find five targets, call it a day and go home. Points are based first on your finding the targets, and then speed is secondary. The winning team Saturday did the course in 2:30 which would be really smoking along to cover 20 miles, and find the targets too. Three teams that are in contention for a national championship were riding this ride, so it was very competitive. We came in eighth on Saturday, and last today. Journey won a new fly bonnet and a lead rope to match her blue stuff.
But tragedy did strike. I lost my beloved BLUE sponge somewhere....three hours north. It fell off my leash. My left hand got between Journey and the trailer door and is looking kind of ugly, but is still functional. ☺
It was a blast and I hope to do some more after I learn some better map reading skills. ~E.G. ( I may have to change that to CMO/ ~E.G.
p.s. The people were spectacularly friendly.
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