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Taking a leap

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  • Taking a leap

    At 36 years old and over 30 years of horse experience, I still don't know what I wanna be when I grow up in the horse world!

    But, after a 20 mile ride a few years ago, I've thought on occassion about diving into the world of endurance. I've Googled to the end of the internet and read as much as I can. I will be joining SERA.

    I have a nine year old American Saddlebred who is a well built machine. Unconditioned, he was able to successfully complete the 20 mile ride. Conditioned, I think he would flourish.

    I'm looking to start training for this - it's a fun hobby I'd like to pursue. I'm not looking to become the next superstar.

    My horse is bold and brave, although a little apprehensive at times. We've not gone on a solo trail ride yet, but are close to venturing out.
    On the trails, he's a leader. He was bought to be a saddleseat showhorse, but made the decision for me that he was a superstar on the trails and he LOVES to jump. He's got good stamina and endurance, is healthy and sound.

    Before I start this next adventure (he's been shown at ASB shows in the Hunter Country Pleasure divisions and excels with children) I'd love to hear the good, bad, and ugly!

    What are some words of wisdom you can share to a novice? Best training/conditioning tips, tack for horse and rider, etc.

    I'd like to do a 25 miler by the end of the year, working up to a 50 mile next year.

  • #2
    The good is...you can do it. Sounds like your horse is perfectly suited, you're perfectly suited (motivated) and the trail awaits! Go for it! It is a blast of a sport, the people are AWESOME, the freedom in doing what you want is a breath of fresh air after the endless rules of the show ring, and the opportunity to go for miles and miles enjoying the great outdoors is just soul lifting.

    The bad is...you do need to train for it to ensure you and your horse have the best platform to compete safely. You will have to look further afield for competition - generally shows can be right around the corner, tons of shows, but to find an endurance ride you will probably have to travel a bit, and they aren't as numerous.

    The ugly - is the weather. It will drive you insane. Sometimes the trail will drive you insane. When you move up to 50's or 100's, add tacking up in the dark, riding out in the dark, returning back in the dark, tired and sometimes cold and wanting nothing more than to climb off your saddle and fall into bed. All part of the program that you forget about two days later as you plan for your next ride.

    Honestly, it is a really fun, all encompassing experience...and a great sport. :-)

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      I've gone back and forth so many times about do I want to show, do I not want to show?
      But at the end of the day, I really, truly have no desire to spend hundreds of dollars for a judge to tell me their opinion of a horse they've seen for all of five minutes going in a circle.

      I want to actually COMPETE - to showcase the truth of what I believe a horse should be. I want to challenge myself, and my horse.

      We all know the myths about ASBs. I own one that doesn't fit into a neat little stereotypical package. He's a fun and sane guy who really is athletic and "outdoorsy!"

      I'm not necessarily interested in jumping in an arena, either. Jumping logs on the trail, sure!!

      Right now, I do have access to miles of trails (I'd call them beginner/intermediate) and a cross country course.

      To begin, we're just working up strength and endurance. Lots of trotting, small periods of cantering.

      I'm not sweating being prepared in any time frame. When it happens, it happens. He's the horse I've had since he was a yearling, and he will die with me as his owner. We've got lots of time!

      There are a few rides here in NC - of course, none are all that close to me.

      A newcomer to the barn has a nice little Arabian that I think would excel in endurance, so I'm contemplating hitting him up to be a riding partner!

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by JackandMo View Post
        I've gone back and forth so many times about do I want to show, do I not want to show?
        But at the end of the day, I really, truly have no desire to spend hundreds of dollars for a judge to tell me their opinion of a horse they've seen for all of five minutes going in a circle.

        I want to actually COMPETE - to showcase the truth of what I believe a horse should be. I want to challenge myself, and my horse.

        We all know the myths about ASBs. I own one that doesn't fit into a neat little stereotypical package. He's a fun and sane guy who really is athletic and "outdoorsy!"

        I'm not necessarily interested in jumping in an arena, either. Jumping logs on the trail, sure!!

        Right now, I do have access to miles of trails (I'd call them beginner/intermediate) and a cross country course.

        To begin, we're just working up strength and endurance. Lots of trotting, small periods of cantering.

        I'm not sweating being prepared in any time frame. When it happens, it happens. He's the horse I've had since he was a yearling, and he will die with me as his owner. We've got lots of time!

        There are a few rides here in NC - of course, none are all that close to me.

        A newcomer to the barn has a nice little Arabian that I think would excel in endurance, so I'm contemplating hitting him up to be a riding partner!
        Normally people only say that when they aren't winning. I moved to Colorado to get into endurance riding. I've found a nice arab but his trot is rough.

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          Originally posted by TJGoSurf View Post
          Normally people only say that when they aren't winning. I moved to Colorado to get into endurance riding. I've found a nice arab but his trot is rough.
          Actually, considering my horse has only been shown at two rated shows and came away with nice ribbons for his 1st and 2nd time out, that's not the reason I don't want to show. Locally, he's brought home some blues in large classes.

          I'm in Eastern NC. I've found a few rides in the state, but am looking forward to moving late next year to either Florida, Texas, or Hawaii if there truly is a god

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by JackandMo View Post
            Actually, considering my horse has only been shown at two rated shows and came away with nice ribbons for his 1st and 2nd time out, that's not the reason I don't want to show. Locally, he's brought home some blues in large classes.

            I'm in Eastern NC. I've found a few rides in the state, but am looking forward to moving late next year to either Florida, Texas, or Hawaii if there truly is a god
            Don't do it! Be like the rest of the cool people from NC and move to Colorado. I just moved from Winston Salem to Denver in April.

            I was stationed in Hawaii for five years. Nice to visit, but a pain to live there.

            Plus if you can read a map they do mounted orienteering out here which is awesome.

            Comment


            • #7
              I lived on Oahu for three years and took a horse over with me. I wouldn't recommend it to any horse person. There is almost no place to trail ride, almost no one has a horse trailer. Feed cost were astronomical, like $20 a bale for hay and this was years ago. Only a couple of farriers and a couple of horse vets so you have little choice. I just can't recommend it. Oh, costs thousands to get you horse from this coast to Hawaii.

              Are you a military family?

              Comment

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