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newbie questions

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  • newbie questions

    I am thinking of doing a few 15mile training rides this summer for fun. What is a normal time/speed for this level? Am I looking at a casual saunter or do you need to really move out - not looking to win, just taking my horse who is a reliable trail horse to babysit a friend's green horse. How serious of a conditioning program am I looking at?

  • #2
    Which organization are you planning on riding in? AERC has a time limit, however I think the "fun rides" you can pretty much walk and still "complete". There are no winners in "fun rides" generally. I know that NATRC's fun ride here in Phoenix a couple months ago was a "walk only" fun ride. So a lot depends on what group you are riding with.

    BTW, most horses who are reasonably fit can do 15 miles with their eyes closed IMO. Not full bore of course, but trotting here and there would be no problem for most.


    • Original Poster

      they call it a training ride, but I get the impression the group (Provincal) is fairly casual at the lower levels - am waiting to here back from them.
      My horse is a minimalist and doesn't believe in sweating (hence the babysitting role) so he'll be happy to hear that we can do a leisurely pace.


      • #4
        If it is Alberta, and the ride is through the Endurance Riders of Alberta, there is a good primer on the website that includes some information about pace.

        The maximum time limit for most of the training rides is "officially" 3 hours...but all that really means is that if you aren't back in 3hours, that's when people hit the trails to look for you. If you're happily walking along in the direction of the finish line when you're found, you are probably still going to be allowed to complete. If this is an Alberta ride, most of the long distance races are run on the same loops with staggered starts...and if other riders are passing you and confirming back to the ride management that you're ok and on the way, you might have a longer window. On the Training and LD rides, everyone wants to see you have a good time, ride a smart race, finish with a healthy horse, and hopefully attend the next ride.

        If you stick to a leisurely walk on a slow horse (I'm thinking of a friend's Pleasure-bred quarter horses here, I didn't know horses could move that slowly) it will be tough to finish the ride in 3 hours, but if you alternate a reasonable walk with some stretches at an easy trot, most horses have no problem hitting 15 miles in the 2-2.5 hour range.

        It depends on your horse...when you start training, figure out how many miles per hour he does at his "regular" walk and trot. Not pushing, just his sweat-free idea of a nice ride. If you're not going to average 6-7 miles per hour, then you may need to do some conditioning to speed up "regular." My horse is lazy and I train alone, so when I started, I had a frustrating first couple rides, because consistently he'd drag butt (like 3 miles/hour...seriously) until we were facing home...then he had endless power. All part of figuring out how to rate your horse, you kind of just have to head out and pay attention, and modify accordingly.

        My horse is a 16.3hh Trakehner, and his regular walk is pretty slow...5-6ish miles per hour. My friend's 14.3hh Arab has an insane walk, I swear he must do like 10miles/hr. Apparently some of the fit 75- and 100-mile horses can hold an 18mile/hr trot...amazing! My horse is most efficient at a working trot, he can hold a 12mile/hr trot relatively easily, and when I could do my 12 mile training loop in just under an hour, that's when I entered my first LD. Unfortunately, I didn't realize that competition would prove he actually had some HEART...he was hard to rate and stayed with the leaders the whole loop. My horse isn't very efficient at the canter, so while I do some cantering on the trail, I restrict it to big open stretches and take a mental break for both of us.

        Before any of this sounds like too much work...I don't think much about speed while I'm riding, I just load up my GPS data afterward and pick up some general ideas, then plan my next ride accordingly.
        Lifestyle coordinator for Zora, Spooky, Wolfgang and Warrior


        • Original Poster

          I am in Manitoba. Private is actually quite athletic so can cover the ground quite efficently if he sees a purpose to it. If he doesn't see the point (ie flat work) he is glacial, thankfully he likes trail riding and jumping.


          • #6

            5-6 mph is almost unheard of for a *walk*.

            Did you gps that because I just do not believe that.

            I use my gps at all times. I know the times on each horse I ride. Ain't none have had a 5-6 mph walk. That is gaited and non-gaited. I *have* ridden with many 17HH + horses.

            18 mph trot. ha ha. Only a speed racker could do that, and they will NOT be able to hold that on hills, rough terrain, just mostly a plain flat smooth road. And not for any distance at all.

            Sherian do some interval training with your horse every other day of the week. Do not over ride your horse NOR push for ANY speed. Allow your horse to pick the pace. Take care you do not over ride, or hurt your horse. You will want to work on both diagonals, and both leads. Watch his heart rate closely. But do not use a hrm as a speed o meter. What somebody else does with their horse is what they do. Do not fall into "I have to do this speed and ride at this other riders speed". Ride your own ride. Not somebody elses.


            • #7
              Ditto what rmh_rider said. I don't know if the endurance rules are different in Canada, but for AERC you have 6 hours to complete a 25-mile ride (including holds) and pulse in at 60 bpm. You certainly do not need to be able to do a 12-mile ride in under an hour. Start slow and listen to your horse -- each one has their own speeds where they're most comfortable, and as they get more fit, they'll naturally pick up the pace. My Arabian walks at about 4 mph, trots at 8-10 mph, and canters at 12-13 mph according to my GPS, and we usually finish in 25-40% of the pack.
              RIP Victor... I'll miss you, you big galumph.


              • #8
                5-6 mph is almost unheard of for a *walk*.

                Did you gps that because I just do not believe that.
                Yup, it's pretty unbelieveable. Went back over some of my early training logs, and my "all Walk" rides were pre-GPS. Once I started recording, I was definitely doing more trot than I remembered.

                Creative rounding up of some segments led me to my "5-6" average...going back, when I actually held TO A WALK, it was more like 3-4. Which is apparently not THAT slow. Just feels that way, I guess! Closer to 3 on the way out, more like 4 on the way back.

                18 mph trot. ha ha. Only a speed racker could do that, and they will NOT be able to hold that on hills, rough terrain, just mostly a plain flat smooth road. And not for any distance at all.
                I was definitely not sure on that one, which is why I said "apparently," but the number did come from some training material. Maybe they had speed racking in mind!


                The terrain comment is very good, I thought that my training trails were pretty bush-y...but the one place that a lot of our rides take place has SAND (and dunes.) That changed things quite a bit!
                Lifestyle coordinator for Zora, Spooky, Wolfgang and Warrior


                • #9
                  I don't know if the endurance rules are different in Canada, but for AERC you have 6 hours to complete a 25-mile ride (including holds)
                  Pretty sure that the "unofficial" 3-hour limit on 13-mile training rides comes from the AERC rules...but since the training rides aren't necessarily strictly governed by the same rules, it isn't as strict.
                  Lifestyle coordinator for Zora, Spooky, Wolfgang and Warrior


                  • #10
                    Intro/recreational rides, less than 25 miles, are recognized and encouraged by AERC but do not follow the usual rules for Limited Distance and Endurance rides, including maximum time for completion.

                    An individual Ride Manager may set a maximum time, mostly for safety reasons, but that will vary from ride to ride.

                    Contacting the Ride Manager before you attend and asking should help clarify it, and hey, GOOD LUCK! My veteran 100 mile horse is a 16.1+H Trakehner/Arab cross so rock on with the warmblood! :-)

                    --Patti Stedman
                    Ride Managers' Committee (AERC)