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Warmbloods and endurance

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  • Warmbloods and endurance

    I read with interest the thread on warmbloods and trail riding. I have an Ibearian warmblood (Azteca) that I trail ride. He is 16.1 hh tall, and looks more QH than Andalusian. He is 7 years old. He hates the arena, so my plans to make him into a dressage horse isn't working out. We both love trail riding, and I would love to try endurance riding with him.

    Two years ago I went to a local informational clinic on endurance riding, to learn more about the sport. I was told there that my large horse would never be able to do endurance, as his HR would be too slow to recover. In their words it would be a total waste of my time, and I should start shopping for an Arabian. So, based on that, I gave up on my endurance dreams.

    I don't feel a need to be competitive, as I am realistic, and can't see how we could be. However, is it really so, that the HR recovery time is set up for a smaller (arabian) horse, and I would have a hard time making it past the first check ?

    Prudence - you wrote about being succesfull on your WB - can you share some details, as far as his HR. Resting, and recovery times ? I am just wondering if your horse had some sort of "advantage" to begin with (I know you mentioned a heart murmur (sp?)). I would also love to hear your program for getting him fit ? Any other people out there doing this sport on WB's ?
    Hestepigen

  • #2
    Originally posted by Shaker View Post
    I read with interest the thread on warmbloods and trail riding. I have an Ibearian warmblood (Azteca) that I trail ride. He is 16.1 hh tall, and looks more QH than Andalusian. He is 7 years old. He hates the arena, so my plans to make him into a dressage horse isn't working out. We both love trail riding, and I would love to try endurance riding with him.

    Two years ago I went to a local informational clinic on endurance riding, to learn more about the sport. I was told there that my large horse would never be able to do endurance, as his HR would be too slow to recover. In their words it would be a total waste of my time, and I should start shopping for an Arabian. So, based on that, I gave up on my endurance dreams.

    I don't feel a need to be competitive, as I am realistic, and can't see how we could be. However, is it really so, that the HR recovery time is set up for a smaller (arabian) horse, and I would have a hard time making it past the first check ?

    Prudence - you wrote about being succesfull on your WB - can you share some details, as far as his HR. Resting, and recovery times ? I am just wondering if your horse had some sort of "advantage" to begin with (I know you mentioned a heart murmur (sp?)). I would also love to hear your program for getting him fit ? Any other people out there doing this sport on WB's ?

    Wow, am I ever surprised they said those kinds of things to you. Our group tries to encourage everyone to try it out, for we know survival means newcomers and longstayers. They know nothing of your horse, and what he is capable of.

    You will know nothing until you try it, and where is the harm in that? As we were discussing in the strategies post- are you looking to place, earn miles, or just get out and do some distance riding and have fun?

    This is probably my third year in distance riding, and I am only just starting to ride consistent 25's and 30's. I was a novice for a couple of years, and even this year the goal is to get the miles under my belt and learn what my horse needs.

    I led a novice group last fall, two in the group rode Lipizzaners. Those suckers beat me! I was very happy for them, and impressed with the breed. So find a welcoming group who are willing to coach and share, and go for it!

    Hope this helps... if you were in my area we would be going to a ride together soon!

    Comment


    • #3
      WB

      a few years ago my Hessen WB and I were invited to a hunter pace and I declined, saying that they would have to call the horse ambulance after a few miles. but then when I was growing up, I rode my horses about 10 miles a day, not so now, ring around the rosie, in the rings and a little trail riding, but then only a few miles.
      but WBs are "built" for dressage and jumping, my Hessen for jumping, so you want a different "built" for endurance. Just like my OTTB mare was "built" and bred for racing (3 yrs on the track) and when I ordered a racing blinker set from Big Dee's for my WB and it didn't fit (from ear to eyes) I asked Big Dee's why they didn't have bigger than standardbred head sizes, and they didn't think it was funny when I said there must not be much WB racing around where their business is located.

      Comment


      • #4
        I hate hearing that you were discouraged by what was said at that clinic. Unfortunately, I've attended clinics that while they didn't discourage non-Arab owners from riding, they were presented in such a heavy handed manner that I would have been scared away had I been a new rider.

        You CAN do distance events with your big guy. As you said, your goal is to finish. That's certainly attainable. You will likely have to put in more conditioning time to get a non-Arab fit and his pulse may not drop like a rock within moments of entering a hold but there is no reason that with careful conditioning that you can't complete an endurance ride, at least a 25 miler. If you can get/borrow a heart rate monitor and use it when you ride, you'll soon get an idea as to how well your horse recovers and what techniques work best to get his pulse down to parameters the quickest. Depending on where you live, you may have more difficulties being "competitive" in competitive trail riding (CTR) events but even those, if you aren't after awards but just the miles and fun should be do-able. If you are one who needs to place in order to feel like it was worth doing, you may find you'll need a lighter bodied horse but the way I figure it, I pay my money for 50 miles, I want to enjoy the trails and the scenery and not have it all be a blur as I fly by! You'll soon learn what pace works best for your horse and if you need to slow down a mile or so out of a hold in order to quickly pulse in. You won't know if it will all work until you try and it's worth trying.

        We all need a good excuse for a long ride in the woods . . . "I'll be gone a while. I've got to condition my horse . . ." And with a non-Arab, you'll likely get to enjoy more saddle time! I say give it a go.

        Debbie

        Comment


        • #5
          Hi Shaker!

          So glad to read of your interest. I've often thought an Azteca would be a wonderful horse to use for endurance. Do it please. Also, look here for all the different breeds that competed in 2006: http://aerc.org/2006_Breeds_Competing.pdf
          No Aztecas yet! You can be first.

          I have been told many times to sell my Hanoverian and get an Arab or "at least" a part-Arab. He is big and nearly black, and swivels his right rear hoof with each step so much you can't keep an easyboot on it. He has a roached back and shark withers - no need for cruppers or breast plates. He loves to see what's around the corner though, and I facilitate that by making sure he is fit, watered, and in extreme heat (I am in California and some of our rides have been scorchers) drenched whenever possible. It's a choice in a way to do something different with your horse, rather than picking a sport and customizing yourself in the appropriate bike shorts, racing sloop, or whatever. I don't think I have done anything more satisfying, and now that Duncan is 25 and is pretty much retired from competition, I want to use his Hanoverian sister for endurance once she is better trained (partially to prove people that think Hanoverians can't do endurance wrong). I wish Dunc and I had reached our 1000 miles in competition, but 13 50 milers was pretty good considering his late start.

          Horses are tougher than we often think, and so many breeds and crosses have been just great at endurance. What is necessary is for the horse to enjoy the trail, be trained well enough that he is easy to ride, and be fit and sound. I can see why Arabs are usually "good" at endurance but any horse can do endurance. And there is nothing more fun than going down a new trail with your particular best buddy, and taking good care of him. Listen to your horse though more than the other riders.

          Duncan's resting pulse is usually below 30, and 95 percent of the time he has recovered to 60 by the time I find a pulse taker. They can often hear a whoosh of a heart murmur if they listen with a stethoscope. Duncan started his endurance career just before turning 20, and I am an old lady who limps and can barely climb on. Those factors might have had more of an effect than his being Hanoverian. Heart murmurs are found in roughly a third of all endurance horses, and in some of the greats.

          We conditioned in the Sierran foothills going out of and down into deep canyons at the walk, and trotted some on the flat. This sort of conditioning spares the legs and develops the lungs and muscles. We started training (after about 5 yrs of being ridden maybe twice a month in the arena) on Valentine's Day and his first 25 miler was in April, and first 50 was in May.

          I did have a vet once ask about whether it was the breed or the training that made him so successful. I told her it was both, since we conditioned in the mountains and one of the breed characteristics of Hanoverians is stamina. (They also have the ability to pull a plow - I was once visited after a ride by an elderly lady who remembered a picture of herself taken in her youth with her family's Hanoverian team of plow horses. She was so totally not impressed.) Anyway I am a believer of doing anything you would like with your horse if you both enjoy it and are spry enough to try.

          Thanks again for asking and hope I haven't bored everyone to tears. I had fun answering and thinking of the wonderful times we have had. It wouldn't have been the same if I hadn't been enjoying myself with my best boy.

          And I loved reading what Diamond Jake had to say about the Lippizaners. Cool breed.

          Ok I'll quit now..
          Last edited by prudence; May. 23, 2008, 11:55 PM.

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            Thank you !

            Thanks for the encouraging words, and Prudence, thanks for your detailed post !

            I took my Azteca for a 5 hrs trailride this weekend (Yes, he is already in good shape). I rode much faster than I usually do. The interesting thing was that he actually picked up energy as the ride went on ! He wanted to be in front of the group, and his walk was super fast ! His trot stayed energetic, as did his canter. As we got near the trailers, he had so much energy left could barely stand to walk, and danced around like a race horse ready to race. Needless to say, he LOVES the trail, and he clearly told me this weekend that he wants to do endurance riding with me :-)

            I will set my sight on an upcoming novice ride, and then a 25 mile ride later this season.
            Hestepigen

            Comment


            • #7
              AWESOME!!!

              What a great feeling, huh? I cannot wait to hear how your first novice goes!

              Good luck!
              Stephanie

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Shaker View Post
                Thanks for the encouraging words, and Prudence, thanks for your detailed post !

                I took my Azteca for a 5 hrs trailride this weekend (Yes, he is already in good shape). I rode much faster than I usually do. The interesting thing was that he actually picked up energy as the ride went on ! He wanted to be in front of the group, and his walk was super fast ! His trot stayed energetic, as did his canter. As we got near the trailers, he had so much energy left could barely stand to walk, and danced around like a race horse ready to race. Needless to say, he LOVES the trail, and he clearly told me this weekend that he wants to do endurance riding with me :-)

                I will set my sight on an upcoming novice ride, and then a 25 mile ride later this season.
                Ohh that's wonderful!!! I was so glad to read your posts What's most important is that the horse in question wants to go down the trail and they can stay happy and healthy while doing it. There are several levels of competition with endurance riding and it can be anything from an all out race of strategy and speed to a nice Saturday morning trail ride with a couple pit stops thrown in. I wish you all the best of luck, and please let us know how things go for you and your horse!!

                Comment


                • #9
                  I would not be discouraged at all and it's a shame that group dampened your enthusiasm.

                  First, some actual European WBs have done very well in endurance -- there are several who have completed the Tevis. One Swedish WB has done Tevis multiple times.

                  And your horse has the advantage in that he's not really a "warmblood" in that there is no WB in him.

                  QH's, especially the working stock, has done great in endurance if you are not looking to win or Top 10. One of our best regional riders, Suzanne Hayes, rides a 1/2 QH. And she kicks butt. Of course, the other half IS Arab, but even so....

                  And Andulusians were first and foremost WORKING horses who worked with cattle and in the bullfighting rings. While they are built more for collection, that is not a bad thing. Once again, as long as you are willing to do the LSD for conditioning and keep your competitive goals realistic, I think you could definitely do 50's.

                  Personally, I think any sound horse can complete a 50 if trained and ridden correctly.

                  I say go for it -- you might be real surprised!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Go for it, goodness sakes, they give you lots of time to complete. I've always ridden big horses (not drafts though). I don't "race" against the other riders, I "ride" to complete; the trail, weather and clock are my foes. I love to have a purpose for my riding.

                    "To complete is to win", go and enjoy your horse!
                    Hillary Rodham Clinton - the peoples choice for president.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      You might not top ten very often on a "heavy weight" horse in endurance but there have been several successful draft crosses over the years-Frank Farmer's Double Ugly back in the 80's consistently did well up to 75 miles (they never did quite make it to 100 miles). There was a great competitive trail Belgian cross, "Winston" who cleaned up in every ride he did for years....Haflingers and belgian/draft crosses tend do REALLY well in competitive trail-their willing, calm attitudes make up for their relative bulk in heart rate recovery :-) I think they should be the mount of choice for large people. My husband's half belgian, half QH, Sir Galahad, consistently places well in competitive trail. He is 15'3" and weighs 1600 lbs-a WIDE load :-). You can see him on the weddings on horse back thread....
                      Sarah Ralston

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        warmbloods CAN do endurance!

                        I just did an endurance event this past weekend in the mountains on my warmblood, and finished 4th out of the 20+ Arabs and gaited horses in my division (24 miles--one day at 4.25mph)...my guy is 16.3, 1/2 PERCHERON, and wears size 4 shoes--NOT a dainty fellow! I normally event, but thought it would be good summer cross training to do something a bit different that would encourage fitness. Our worst 10 minute P&R check this weekend was 12&5 (48 heart rate and 20 respiration), and the best was 9&3 (36 heart rate and 12 respiration). Don't be discouraged! After I sent in my entry, the event secretary called me to make sure I knew it was an endurance event I had entered with my AWS-registered horse--she was concerned, but not discouraging. After the awards ceremony, the vet judge made a point to comment on my big guy's fitness--he implied that it was something special--but I disagree! I ride 6+ days per week, and do and hour of trot/gallop sets on two of those days. Get your pony fit, make sure your saddle fits well, and GO FOR IT! Good luck!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          AERC, and CCTR. look up

                          I'm Able Too.

                          Reg 1/2 Arab 1/2 percheron gelding.

                          Very successful LTD. endurance and competitive trail ride career. spanning about 20 years.
                          He was also a combined driving horse,
                          as well as show horse for flat & hunter
                          He was retired from endurance about 4 years ago, and is now a pony club horse. Still showing in the junior flat classes. His knees can't take the jumping anymore.

                          Of course, he's one also of those once in a lifetime horses - nothing he's never been able to do, he's lived up to his name
                          Originally posted by ExJumper
                          Sometimes I'm thrown off, sometimes I'm bucked off, sometimes I simply fall off, and sometimes I go down with the ship. All of these are valid ways to part company with your horse.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I hate when people pidgeon hole breeds. Go, work at it, and have fun. The same type of folks who say you Must have an Arab for endurance are they same ilk as those who say you must have a WB to do dressage.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              The rule of "horses for courses" is still valid. That's not "pigeonholing." It's working to the strengths of the horse. Even if it means the human has to revise their own prejudices.

                              A WB might complete the Tevis, but none has ever won. Want to know what DOES win the Tevis? Try Google.

                              Or go to http://www.teviscup.org/

                              Notice any pattern?

                              Remember that this is an event decided by a stopwatch, not an opinion about what's "best." It's pretty clear what type of horse wins. If you want to ride to win then your choice is pretty clear.

                              G.
                              Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Well, since there have only been two warmbloods ENTERED in the Tevis (and one was mine and he was seriously handicapped by my riding him), statistically there has not been much chance of one winning. Frank Moan won the Haggin Cup with a heavy type Quarter horse. I agree though that it makes sense if all you want to do is win you better your chances by having an Arab. One of the main reasons for saying this is the inclination of vets to agree with the need for an Arab. A well-trained warmblood does not act like a hot Arab; I got comments on my boy like, 'looks tired" when it was really "looks trained." Also Arabs are a known quantity and cheap to boot.

                                The Western States Trail also is for mountain goats really - a big warmblood is more likely to scrape his rider off the low branches, have some trouble with the narror track, or not be as quick on turns. I have to say my boy going up steep hills just gets stronger, and I think if we started when were both younger we coulda been a contenda. I would love to see someone actually try to win with a warmblood and will be watching here for results! But mainly I am a believer in having fun with your particular dear darling horse and in trying new and different things with him, rather than picking a new sport and buying the horse to fit that activity.

                                This thread is wonderful (loved reading about I'm Able Too)
                                [wishing my horse and I were younger..sigh]

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  The OP was interested in endurance. Many folks ride without winning the Tevis. Why ride in dressage unless you plan to go to the Olympics? Same logic or illogic.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    You can't really compare an event judged by a tape measure or stop watch with an event judged by "opinion."

                                    While most will never compete at the Tevis level it IS the premier level of the sport and the pattern of horse types that do well is clear and, IMO, convincing.

                                    This does not mean you can't use some other type/breed in endurance, just as you could pull a beer wagon with an Arab or run cows on a Stanardbred or jump a Clyde. But, at the end of the day, is it worth it? What risks are you subjecting horse and rider to by violating the "horses for courses" rule?

                                    G.
                                    Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      I'll be the first one to stand in the front of the line and say yes, I prefer Arabs or Arab xbreds for my endurance horses. Believe you me This is because I run top 10 or least thats my aim, on a finished horse.

                                      However --
                                      I also firmly believe it depends on what your aim is in the sport also.
                                      If your aim is to go out and have fun, enjoy the scenery and spend time with your horse and your friends, then as far as I'm concerned - any horse who is well conformed, fit and conditioned, can do a 25, and possibly 50s
                                      Might be at the back of the pack , but certainly capable - if you pick the right rides for that horse. 100 degree heat and a 50 at high speed and a heavy muscled horse, well that's just stupid.

                                      Cooler times of the year on a fit, heavier build horse and a 'casual' 50 where you are 'finishing ' not racing with the top 10 - certianly well within reason.

                                      Several years back, 10? maybe, a Warmblood won the WEG endurance. The specific breeding, I can't remember, he was also a show jumper if memory serves.

                                      If you are looking to be the 'elite' yes, Arabian bred horses rule the pack, and deservedly so.
                                      But I don't necessarily feel that if you have the wrong type of horse, that should preclude you from going out to try an LTD for fun.
                                      Originally posted by ExJumper
                                      Sometimes I'm thrown off, sometimes I'm bucked off, sometimes I simply fall off, and sometimes I go down with the ship. All of these are valid ways to part company with your horse.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        But we would agree, would we not, that it's type[ not breed that is key? That when you move outside of a standard type you increase risks of mishap? And that moving out of standard type means the human must be more careful in how they manage the activity? Suggesting that less experienced riders stay within type and leave the "experimentation" to the more experienced riders?

                                        G.
                                        Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão

                                        Comment

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