Journey came along at a time when I was about as low as I could go at least related to any of my distance riding goals. Deep down, somewhere inside me I had doubts about my little generic Appy ever completing an LD, let alone digging in enough to sustain a 50 mile ride. She overtimed an LD, and my low, got lower. Next ride out she finished an LD with time to spare, next ride out she finished a 50 with some time still left ticking on the clock. That 50 mile ride culminated a long held life bucket list goal for me. It made me believe in myself again. Though I have no particularly high aspirations for the endurance sport other than doing a ride or two when I can find the time, the money, or the health to do so, I did wonder if that 50 was a fluke. Had the help of my ride buddy assisted us "too" much, did we really earn the 50 miles. Just a few niggling doubts that my mare might be a one ride wonder. My plans for the most part are to attempt a 50 once annually, and go about life without being focused on Endurance. At least that is the present plan. 2013 (check), 2014 (check). It has given me a sharper sense of what a tough little mare Journey is, her level of try and hang-with-it-ness. Honest to God, Journey takes two strides to the other competing horse's one stride. She travels very close to the ground, on short little cannon bones, with very little extension, and she's like pitty-pat pitty- pat pitty- patting down the trail. Journey weighs about 860 on a very good day, she is just tall enough to measure horse vs. pony. The fact that she can and will carry a combined tack and rider weight of 185 lbs kind of chokes me up a little. She'd fly with a featherweight! I honestly believe I could throw a saddle on and ride another 50 today if I wanted too. It took her one day to look, and act fully recovered. Her back isn't sore. She has zero filling in her legs. The only clue that she'd completed a 50 is the scrape on her heels from the blown out hoof boot. After the big health scare late winter and spring with her I doubted again. But she turned things around. The Spotted Wonder has proven herself. She was one of two Appaloosa horses competing this weekend. The other didn't finish. She chased a field of well bred arabian horses out there. She gave me all she had and then some. It is humbling. ♥
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