Contact information:

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

August 20, 2013

Stepping up the Distance

Why are there so few 35-45 mile length LD's?    It just occurred to me after an email with a very nice person that moving up from 25 miles to 30 miles when I did it  felt so hard.  Five miles extra distance seemed like the longest five miles of my life.  It was also the ride that in the end I felt the most gratified having ridden, as it was the longest.  Once a person has a few LD's under their belt, looking out at doubling their mileage on a ride can be very intimidating.  All kinds of fear for your horse creeps can my horse do 50 miles, when we only train 25 miles a week?  How is that possible?  Will I hurt my horse?   Will the painful joint in my foot allow me to double my ride distance?  If I move up and try a 50, what if I fail?  I lose the mileage credit, fuel, vacation time, for...nothing?   There are a lot of ifs there.

But how about this if?   What if management added 10 miles to an LD ride, or 15 miles to an LD ride.  More work?  Some...but there could be a repeat loop which wouldn't require additional trail marking.  It would sort out the front runners a bit more, and it would give LD riders a little more confidence that indeed maybe we can do a fifty successfully.  If I complete 30, 35, 40, what is the next logical step?   ENDURANCE.


  1. As an RM, I'd say we don't see this distance because AERC doesn't sanction them. Per the rule book:
    L1. Limited Distance rides must be at least 25 miles but not exceed 35 miles in length.

    However, if you really did want to go out and ride an additional 10-20 mile loop after you finished your LD, you probably could as long as you asked the ride manager and went out on a loop without other competitors so you couldn't be considered to be "pacing" their horses. Could probably ride the same trail if it was all public lands. It would just be a politeness thing to ask and of course notify management of what you were doing.

  2. Being new to endurance, I guess I don't know how much work it would be to have some rides in the 35-45 mile range, but I am concerned about how I'll be able to move up from 25s to 50s without something in between. I definitely like your idea!

  3. As Crysta says, the 35 mile cutoff is a rule but I hardly ever see an LD over 30 miles. In UMECRA there are quite a few 40 mile comp rides. Before attempting a 50 mile, for sure I would attempt 2 25 mile LDs in a weekend. If your horse can't do back-to-back LDs then chances are he can't do a 50. A friend of mine did 2 30 mile comp rides last weekend to judge if her horse could do a 50 (he did well!)