One of the deal-breakers in riding distance is maintaining one's motivation. Motivation serves as a tool to keep us pumped, and ready for action. To have a continued sense of motivation a person must have goals. Goals are like the bright shiny object at the end of the long tunnel. Imagine some person handed you a map. It is neatly folded and you slip it into your hip pocket so it will be ready when you need it. You pack up your stowaway bags, saddle up, sling your leg over, settle in, pull out and unfold the map smoothing it gently across your thighs only to discover there is nothing written on it except A) your starting point and Z) your destination. Everyone smiles and waves, yelling have a nice ride! You stare at the map in confusion. How do you get there?
Goals are the grease that keep us engaged, motivated, and enjoying the sport. If you have one hundred people riding distance, most of them will have very different goals, and ways of reaching them. A rider new to the sport may just want to survive the first LD or 50. A rider a bit farther along in the process may have a goal of attaining a certain amount of miles in a season. Another may be reaching for Decade Team (at least one 50 a year for ten years same rider, same horse). If any of them hope to make it from A-Z they will need to map out how they will reach the goal. It doesn't have to be rocket science, but sometimes a little thought up front can subdue a whole lot of frustration.
Here is my personal example: To reach my goal of an AERC 250 mile patch on Journey I need 3 more 50 mile completions. So that is Z (my year end goal). My starting place for that is a 30 mile ride in May, if that goes well, moving up to a 50 two weeks later. So to reach my personal goal for the year I need to ride 4 rides, and take the steps needed to prepare for each one. For me the smaller picture of planning it ride by ride works best. If I don't meet the goal, I still have the goal, just the time line shifts a bit. That's okay ☺
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