Any UMECRA members here? Newbie interested in Novice rides!
I recently checked out the Upper Midwest Endurance and Competitive Rides Association website. I liked what I saw - it seems very well organized and there was great information on the site. If any of you are reading this - THANKS! You are doing a great job
I am thinking about trying some of the novice rides this year with one of my horses. I've never done any type of competitive trail/endurance riding, just showing in several different disciplines and foxhunting. This particular horse is 7 this year and has shown in hunters (on the flat....has jumped crossrails and small verticals at home), dressage to First Level, and has trail ridden and foxhunted.
I'd love to hear from anyone who is doing these types of rides, and can offer some guidance and advice.
I am a UMECRA member. Last year was my first year and I did the Novice rides. I got 4th overall for the year!! There is a UMECRA FB page that you should join. Lots of people on there, a very active site.
I am in far western Minnesota.
I'm a GLDRA member (the michigan distance organization) and all our rides are also UMECRA sanctioned. Typically a friendly, welcoming group. I can tell you more about any of the rides in Michigan as I've been to all of them except the ones in the UP. What rides are you considering?
I saw a few on the schedule that could work for me - in southern MN, a couple NW of the Twin Cities, and possibly one in western IL, that have Novice rides.....and that don't interfere with my other horse's show schedule
I don't own an endurance saddle or a western saddle, and it's not in the budget to buy one this year. A few dog surgeries are leaving me broke, and I'll be really lucky to be able to go to any of these rides at all. So I'd be riding in a CC saddle.....is that uncommon to see?
The horse I'd be bringing has never had shoes, and has never needed them. He has been in training 5 days/week, shown hunters and dressage, and foxhunted (including galloping on gravel roads ) without them. The horse has hooves of steel. Reading the FAQs and New Member info, it seems like most of the riding is on dirt or softer footing, and they try to keep you off gravel or pavement - is that fairly accurate?
I went to most of the rides in Mn. Last year and I can update you on some of the riding trails.
MnDra 1 NW of the twin cities has deep sand, would be good for a barefoot ride.
Point Chaser and Zumbro Bottoms boogie are at the same location, It is good footing here but I'd wear shoes as there are some areas where you would need it.
Thistledown run near Frazee Mn. would be good for barefoot.
Charity cup near Pillager Mn. wear shoes.
Mosquito run I can't remember it was so hot all i worried about was hydration. It was a great place though.
Maplewood= shoes or boots.
Run for the Ridge =shoes or boots.
I didn't go to S E Minnesota so I'm not sure what the conditions are like.
I thought I could go barefoot before I started endurance. I found out differently. I would at least wear some kind of protective boot or bring a set along that they are used to wearing.
The rides do stay off gravel roads and pavement and the footing is good,but I was surprised by how many rocks and natural gravel areas are out there on the riding trails.
On the saddle? I would suspect that anything that fits you and your horse and doesn't sore their back will be fine. I rode western all last year and had no problems. I now have a western endurance saddle just because my other saddle was so heavy.
I forgot to add there is another distance riding group you should check into.
Minnesota Distance Riders Association. MnDRA
It is associated with UMECRA and they sanction rides jointly.
They have a web page and a facebook page.
If you go to the photo galleries you can see pics of most of the rides in Minnesota last year. Like the newby novice I am I looked at all the tack and footing in the pics to get a feel for things.
I used my Dressage and AP saddles last year. Every type of saddle/bit/gadget is OK, nothing is illegal in endurance riding.
I normally ride training/first level Dressage and school Novice level XC and stadium, and found that my Trak gelding was more than ready to compete in novice rides - he won both rides we competed in. We also did a 25 mile comp ride and placed respectably. He is normally barefoot, but I put front shoes on him for the competitions.
The footing/trails at the SE MN ride were pretty good, but you do go through rivers/streams with rocky riverbeds. A fellow competitor's TB mare lost both front shoes during that ride and came back a little footsore - but that also was the ride where we took a wrong turn and did about 20 miles instead of 10!
All in all, novice rides are pretty easy, especially if you've got a Dressage or Foxhunting background.