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
January 28, 2014
Using Endurance Granny to Best Advantage
For the newbies that stumble upon this blog an explanation of what this blog is and has been about. How to use it to best advantage, and a warning to consider your source when searching for "newbie" (new to distance riding) information from this or any other blog, or website.
My history: I've attempted three horses at distance riding. #1 was talented, but had a health issue that required medication and ultimately led to her blindness, and eventually humane euthanasia (totally unrelated to the sport). Horse #2 was the offspring of horse #1, extremely athletic, mentally unsound, and metabolically unsound for any kind of speed (meaning anything excitable above a walk) (actually anything excitable including the vet). I took some backlash from others for the problems with this horse, though I tried to work her through things, rode very slow finish times, it was hit or miss if she'd cave into metabolic melt-down (tie-up). At a certain point in this venture I just threw in the towel put her on hiatus for her own good, and began looking for another horse. My budget was pretty low. About a thousand bucks, it was spring time, and every cast off horse from the winter had shot up in price about 300%. Since I generally have to do the best I can with what I have, I settled on an accidental cross that was half appaloosa, half arab (not papered, so who knows). Spent a year working with her, more or less teaching under saddle skills, steering ... curing balking, and barn sourness. But she was what I had, so that is what I did. We attempted a 25 mile LD after about a year of work, and got ourselves lost, and went overtime. After this cascade of misfortune, I had my own little melt-down. Got mad at the sport, but mostly mad at myself, I lost confidence, and faith that the AERC was a friendly place. I've since learned that you attract sort of what you put out there. I was so frustrated that I was like mosquito repellent when it came to forming a network within the sport. My honesty wasn't always for my own good, but that is who I am. After another year of self-loathing, and finding another really fun sport (CMO) I came to the realization that this thing in me was still unfulfilled. I wanted so badly to take a horse from scratch, leg it up, and complete an AERC 50 mile ride. Last summer I started legging up my horse again with the prospect that finish or not, I was going to attempt it, and do the best we could. My little spotted horse surprised us both, finishing with about an hour to spare. In the days that followed it was like a very important piece of my life puzzle slid in and locked into place. I don't know what the future holds for us in our distance adventures, but I do know if I never accomplish another thing in the sport, that one single ride was the most epic moment of my life (aside from marriage and children). I rode 3000 miles + on three different horses to finally get it done. My horsemanship skills are better, I ride better, I'm a more confident leader for my horse, and I'm proud of that. Endurance will do that for you.
Consider the source: There is a lot of information on this blog. But I offer the disclaimer that I've done maybe ten LD's and completed one 50 mile endurance ride. I've studied and digested hundreds of articles on various topics, read most of the books I deem worthy on the subject, picked the brains of some of the top owners/riders in the country, and I'll be the first to tell you be careful who you learn from, even if it is me. Filter every piece of information fully considering who is the source, what is their ride record, pull record, how many horses have they gone through (are they burning them up every two years, or is the horse just not suitable, are they conditioning top horses and selling them, is their motto "To win is to win" or "To finish is to win", and how does what they do align with your goals, and your horses best interests, etc.). Use good sense, start slow, and put the welfare of your horse FIRST. ALWAYS. Not the finish line, the horse.
How to use this blog: There are good links on the top left of the blog. These are clickable and very good reliable sources for information concerning Limited Distance and Endurance riding. You will also find a search box on the sidebar on the right that will search this blog by topic. For instance if you put the word "conditioning" in the box it will bring up all the various conditioning plans I've found, some that I've used myself, and some that outline what I was doing during that window of time. These are intended as a guideline only. Every horse is different, except in the respect that you should start off slow on a mature horse. One size does not fit all. But information helps. Also on the right side of the blog you will find some of my blog favorites, many of them involved in distance riding. One has a record of high mileage and longevity with her horses, Tevis finishes, others have started from scratch like me, had lumps and bumps along the way, made their way through the ranks and established themselves as endurance riders. Utilize these great sources of knowledge by visiting these sister blogs. I look up to all these women, and most have more experience than I do. You will find some good information scattered through my blog, and you are most welcome to it. If you ever have questions which I can help with, please feel free to comment somewhere, or email me and I'll share what I know, or point you to someone who knows better.
For the newbies out there, the one golden thing I'd reach out my hand and give you, is have fun with the sport. It is an adventure, and adventure should make our hearts swell to fullness. When it doesn't, find another exciting adventure that does. My best to you always. ~ Endurance Granny