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Any Tips for Endurance Newbie?

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  • Any Tips for Endurance Newbie?

    Hey all! I've been riding since I was seven and am new to the endurance world, but I love trails and my appy does too so I think endurance will be our next adventure. I've got a lot of questions that Google cannot help me find answers to, and I'm hoping some more experienced riders can help me out.

    1. English, western, or straight up endurance saddle? (I'm comfortable in anything, really. We're not looking to compete any time for the next two years, maybe longer, depending on school.)
    2. Best ways to train horse and rider?
    3. Is it smarter to have horses shod or do hoof boots protect them enough?
    4. Are competitive trail rides a better way to start than going into the fifty mile rides?
    5. Anyone near Savannah/Statesboro, GA, who might be up for some group rides?
    6. What are some essentials to have on hand for endurance rides?
    7. Best attire?
    8. Best tack?

    Any other advice is welcome! I'm hoping this will be a fun, lifelong venture for Trigger and me, and if nothing else, a lovely break from the hunter/jumper and horsemanship worlds!

  • #2
    Hello and welcome! I am a newbie too. I have done one 25 and will be riding my second this Saturday.

    Don't make any major changes to tack until you know you will like/love it enough to keep doing it.

    The best way to train is to ride! You don't train for a 25 or 50 by riding that. Usually I ride 10 or 12 miles. I only get to ride 2 maybe 3 times a week. If it's just me, I will try to gait (I ride a fox trotter) and lope most of that. If someone else is with me, we probably walk half of it. My husband's QH could not keep up that kind of pace. Get to know your horse so you know if you are pushing him too much during a ride.

    Shod versus boots really depends on the rider. I like my horse barefoot so will get boots if there are any rides that require footwear. But I am in Texas. Most of the endurance in my area of the state are barefoot friendly.

    I hear you can't have enough buckets at camp! I took bare minimum supplies and slept in my truck. I just tied my horse to the trailer. If I keep doing this, I will probably invest in an electric pen. I brought a cooler with lots of water and brought sandwiches. I wanted something quick and easy. I didn't have anyone with me so was glad I did bring sandwiches when I was on my hold. By the time I had taken care of my horse, there really wasn't much time to eat so having something quick and ready but great.

    You don't need heart rate monitors or really any of the "fancy" equipment a lot have. They are nice but not needed. Especially don't buy them before knowing you are going to stay in the sport.

    I rode in sweat pants. I"m thinking of wearing them again. I'm going to be in the saddle for several hours and want to be comfortable. I do have a treeless saddle. I didn't get it for endurance so much as because my horse is hard to fit. I used a nylon bridle with braided reins. I have recently gotten an Indian hackamore. That's more because I want to get away from using a bit on this horse. He is white. Even when not pulling on the reins, he gets rubs at the corners of his mouth. It is something I would have bought whether I was riding endurance or just trail riding.

    Why wait 2 years? If you are regularly riding, Trigger should be able to handle an LD.


    • #3
      The link below will take you to the Old Dominion Endurance website's "Endurance Primer" for those interested in the sport of Endurance riding. The primer will answer all your questions, including those you haven't thought of ...yet. It was written by an AERC Decade Team member.

      How to Ride and Train for Endurance Riding - for those who are interested in knowing what Endurance is all about, those who are just starting the sport, and those experienced competitors wanting to improve their or their horse's performance.


      • #4
        Originally posted by gothedistance View Post
        The link below will take you to the Old Dominion Endurance website's "Endurance Primer" for those interested in the sport of Endurance riding. The primer will answer all your questions, including those you haven't thought of ...yet. It was written by an AERC Decade Team member.

        How to Ride and Train for Endurance Riding - for those who are interested in knowing what Endurance is all about, those who are just starting the sport, and those experienced competitors wanting to improve their or their horse's performance.
        This is an awesome website with tons of information! This will be my third year competing and I've used the info on gothedistance's link kind of like my endurance bible.
        And, honestly, there is no best tack, best attire, etc. The whole premise behind endurance is that you do what works best for you and your horse to get you both safely through the ride.
        "As soon as you're born you start dyin'
        So you might as well have a good time"


        • #5
          In addition to the Old Dominion site given above, visit the American Endurance Riding Conference (AERC) site at http://http://www.aerc.org/ Lots of good information there and especially scan down the "Endurance Updates" column to find 3 videos of actual rides.

          For information on keeping your horse healthy during a ride go to the site of endurance rider and vet Susan Garlinghouse at http://www.allcreaturesanimalhealth....onArticles.pml She's got lots of great articles linked there. I especially like her "Beating the Metabolic Pull" series; great info on hydration before and during the ride.

          The other thing I would suggest is to get your horse used to camping before you actually attend a ride. One less thing to worry about!
          It's just grass and water till it hits the ground.


          • #6
            I'm new too and have read every one of the links on the FAQ section here - there is so much information I have actually printed it off and started a binder for reference. The Garlinghouse link is new to me... ...yay! more to read!

            For me, connecting with a mentor has been huge, and it's relieves some anxiety over trying it all on my own (they were listed on the aerc.com site I think). So far it seems that endurance people are super generous with their offers to help when you're getting started, which is so cotradictory to me experiences in other disciplines . I'm super excited to do my first LD in July.

            Have fun!


            • #7
              1. For saddle, whatever is comfy for you and your horse. A horn can be very annoying ( at least for me) when ducking under branches, riding in two-point,etc. If you're going with an english, a deeper seat - high pommel and cantle, more dressage than jumping style can help you stay more stable on rough terrain/hills. The less work you have to do to stay in a good position while riding, the more energy you have to help your horse in other ways. If possible, a light saddle- no heavy skirts,silver or extra material will make things easier. Rings to attach saddle bags/ crupper or breast collar are nice.The most important thing is comfort for you and the horse.
              2. Training : LSD aka Long Slow Distance. Start slowly and work your way up. Doing long training rides at a slow pace will not only give you an idea of what endurance is like, as well as getting you and the horse in condition and find out if your tack fits and will work for you. Going horsecamping before your first ride will also help test how you could confine your horse in camp. Volunteering at a local ride is a great way to learn about endurance, and maybe find training buddies.
              3. Hoof boots work fine- might take some experimentation to figure out what model works best for you. If possible, find a barefoot trimmer who has experience with boots ( and hopefully has samples of the available boots) to help you out. Easycare also has some very helpful blogs and tips. The major brands are Easycare and Renegade,at least on the west coast.
              4. To my knowledge, CTR is very different from endurance. CTR is much more structured than endurance. Some of CTR's rules ( no getting off to run/walk with horse, must wear specific gear, carry lead rope,no protective boots on horse, etc), are not necessarily well fitted to endurance. However CTR will give experience with horse camping and some aspects of endurance. I personally like to do a Limited Distance (25-30 miles) ride or volunteer to pull ribbons after another ride to give the horse experience with being in ride camp and endurance.
              5. No idea, I'm in Northern California
              6. Bring extra food, maybe of some feed your horse doesn't get allot at home. Extra buckets ( 5 gallon) are great for cleaning gear, hauling extra water, poop etc. Sponge on a string for hot rides so you can cool your horse off in creeks without having to get off. Fleece cooler to help keep the horse from getting chilled and to help them dry out. Usual collection of zipties,haystring and ductape is always a great idea. Desotin is good for tack rups. Don't forget human electrolytes and food- you are an important part of the team. Experiment with what tastes good to you after long hours in the saddle.
              7. Whatever is comfy for you. Tights ( Kerrits), half chaps and running shoes work well for me. If you get sunburned easily or the ride is in a brushy/potion oak area a lightweight long sleeve sunshirt ( try REI, hiking stores) is really helpful, particularly if you get it wet in creeks to cool yourself off. Layers are key for endurance. A fishing vest can be nice because it has alot of pockets- tights don't have pockets and the horse can't call 911 if something goes wrong.
              8. Biothane is awesome- doesn't get stiff, wears like iron and is very easy to clean - just hose it off. Endurance style stirrups will work on any saddle and are worth the extra cost.

              Good luck and remember, the most important thing to is to enjoy the ride


              • #8
                Bumping to fix display issues on front page.


                • #9
                  Going to piggyback on OP's question, this specifically about training. I live in relative "flatland" but today found a trial where there is a 50' climb -- today the direction I took it it was 50' climb over 1/4 mile, but the downside was steeper, going back to the original elevation over 1/5 mile. For training / legging up, which direction should I be taking the trail, steep side up or steep side down? The trail itself is sandy, but not overly deep sand with grass on either side. Horse seemed to prefer the grass footing over the sand whenever given the choice.
                  Last edited by NorthwoodsRider; May. 23, 2013, 10:42 PM.
                  At its finest, rider and horse are joined not by tack, but by trust. Each is totally reliant upon the other. Each is the selfless guardian of the other's very well-being.
                  (Author Unknown)