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

July 8, 2014

How Good is Your Horse

Given that the horse is healthy, mentally sound, and somewhat athletic how good is your endurance horse and how good can that horse get?   I have an as yet unproven theory, and many respects I believe the answer to that question lies in How Good is the Handler.  That's right!   How good are you?  I will grant you that any given horse only has a certain potential and some of us are better at bringing that potential to light.

I'm probably not one of those people.  I know EXACTLY what I need to be doing but find myself limited to:

My horse's health or/  training ability.

My general condition of being risk adverse.



I can think of about three people off the top of my head who could probably up Journey's game several notches.

One thing is clear:  If you do what you've always done, you will get what you've always got.

Though I have been able to tweak my ride times a little bit, we have made no leaps and bounds.  In a horse with only three completions as yet, that is probably just as well.  But eventually I'd like to see what her aptitude actually is.  I've only just recently been able to up our average mph on short conditioning rides and expect it to take some months to see a change over a longer distance.

In a dream world I would have:

*A five mile flat dirt road with no traffic. (for short snappy rides at trot/canter interval, and the occasional sprint)
*A two mile uphill gradual grade. (to trot ALL THE WAY UP)  (then later to CANTER ALL THE WAY UP)
*A training loop of 15 miles with no rutty mud but lots of varied terrain.  (For LONG SLOW DISTANCE)

That would be perfect.  Though I'm doing a dumbed down version of this, I'm unable to be consistent. What I have is
* A half mile flat dirt road with no traffic.
*A quarter mile gradual hill grade.
*A training loop of 15 miles with enough rutted mud that I risk destruction of a boot every trip I take which is expensive.  In between the mud there is sharp limestone gravel.

I'm thinking on how to make lemonade from lemons.

Perhaps I could do 10 repeats of the half mile dirt road? Alternating between trot/canter? Ding ding ding! Epiphany!

Perhaps I could do repeats of the hill grade until she hits maximum pulse cut off, track our repetitions on Garmin and focus solely on that hill once a week?  Ding ding ding! Epiphany!

Perhaps I will have to make due with the 15 mile training loop and do it twice a month to minimize risk to our boots?  Since I'm gonna have to go slow anyway...maybe I can put her into the old Gloves which if I lost one would not seem quite so stressful ( as I wouldn't feel the need to replace it). Ding ding ding! Epiphany!

So just a little grain of thought to mull over, is your horse's performance linked to your horse?  Or is it linked to you? How can you change YOUR performance to enhance the HORSE'S performance?  I am quite certain I have not tapped in yet to Journey's best possible performance.  I'm sure it is directly related to my "how" I'm doing things.   How about you?

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