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Interested in Endurance

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  • Interested in Endurance

    Hello all!

    Over the past year I've decided showing Arabians is not something I care to continue. I love the breed but hate what the show ring has become, jmo.

    However, I am interested in endurance but don't really know much about it and don't know how to get started. I've been reading about equipment and would like to find a trainer.

    My show horse-- 12 y/o mare (pedigree--- http://www.allbreedpedigree.com/dhf+my+valentine)



    I have other horses but Val is my favorite.

    Any suggestions? Info? etc.

  • #2
    Start with your local, regional associations. Go to rides as a volunteer. Just do yourself a favor and give some of your own time as a volunteer. You will benefit soooooo much by doing so. You will learn and learn and learn. It will give you so much info and great ideas. Find local riders and introduce yourself. This isn't showing, you don't need a "trainer".


    Bonnie S.

    Perpetual Volunteer!


    • #3
      You do NOT need a "trainer". NO.

      Go to endurance dot net and start reading. Lots of great info there.

      If you have done the show ring, and I checked your video, girl you have enough knowledge of horses, how to get the in condition, how to ride, and you do not need to PAY ***ANY***body to teach you how to do endurance. Your horse looks great so get riding, NOW!

      You take your horse, and hit the trails. Easy. Start with long slow distances (LSD) and you both will do great. Over time you may need to do the great saddle hunt, not sure your western will work over the course of time. You do not HAVE to have a saddle for endurance. Let that horse have his head and not be on the bit.

      The main thing is to get out there and do it. Also, go to an endurance ride and help out. I would suggest to scribe. Also help mark trails. Lots to look at, at an endurance ride.

      You can learn all there is for FREE. Don't you dare pay anybody. That is the total beauty of endurance. No fancy equipment. I get people asking about tack, clothes etc. There is nothing special. Whatever you think is comfy, and your horse is comfy too. IOW you could compete necked, barefoot, no tack on your horse, and get the horse to follow you - ha ha. So the lady godiva, and have maybe a dental floss halter and lead rope on your horse to follow or you follow him. You may have some followers to watch if you do this, but no specific tack, no specific horse, no nothing. That is the beauty of it. Ride the way you want, within specific parameters of course.

      Go girl!


      • #4
        No fancy equipment......I can hear my husband laughing about my choice of apparel and tack. Granted you don't have to have anything special. Ahhh....but those endurance saddles......and the biothane tack.....and the saddlebums pants.....and i could go on and on.
        Seriously, go out ride and enjoy yourself. I also vouch on the volunteering. I ride some rides and volunteer others. Lots and Lots to learn.


        • #5
          You don't need a trainer, but if you know someone you can ride with you can learn a lot that will make life easier, like what is the best stuff to wear -- you need to remain comfortable during long hours in the saddle, tights with no seams, you can get padded tights, but don't used leather fullseats they stick to the saddle and you will get sore inside them. Sheepskin on your saddle is nice, if your saddle is at all hard. Saddle fit for the horse is vital, close isn't good enough, it needs to be perfect. Some of the endurance saddles have adjustable fit, like we have one that has padding that velcros on and off. Cruppers and breast plates help keep your saddle in position going up and down hills. Being able to carry food and drink bottles is pretty necessary, and even water bottles to wet the horses neck and shoulders on hot days. Braid your horses mane so it's not hot on his neck and it's easy to get water on. Learn to track your horses pulse rate while riding, monitor is nice but not necessary, but it's good while conditioning to keep the horses pulse rate in the aerobic zone.
          Learn how to eat on ride days, it can be tricky, I get really sick of power bars and gatorade. And I simply cannot get off and pee in a herd of riders, but I know some girls do. Make sure your horse isn't going to lose his head in the start, it can be pretty exciting when 50 fit, hot arabs all hit the trail at the same time. Learn to keep your ride card in a safe place.


          • Original Poster

            Thanks for all the advice! I have alot of reading and learning to do!

            I'm just looking for something that will make my horse happy (other than eating and rolling in mud!)

            I know I'll have to get a saddle. In the video posted, I was riding in my trainer's schooling saddle. Evidently, most hunter pleasure trainers school the horses in a western saddle until a few days before the show. I have an Arabian Horse Saddle Co. Elan saddle in buffalo. But, if endurance is something I'd like to do, then I'll consider getting on of theirs. (Depending on reviews).

            Thank you all for not blasting me for not wearing a helmet/boots. The video was really spur of the moment. I showed up to the barn after being gone for about a month (went home for summer and my horse is in my college town) and hopped on. From this point on...my mare keep her head in a natural position. I regret forcing her into the little 'box'.

            Can someone post a link to endurance equipment? Also, are their any books you can suggest? I'm doing the reading on websites now.

            Also, how important is conformation for endurance? My mare has never had any lameness issues (except for white line, which is another story). I just wouldn't want her to break down if she isn't conformationally suited for it.


            • #7
              Whoa, steady up there!

              Don't buy any new gear (apart from a helmet) until you have done some rides. It's not how you look, it's how you go.
              The reasons:
              1. You may hate endurance or only enjoy it enough to ride every now and then.
              2. What gear you own now may well be quite suitable ie comfortable for both horse and you.
              3. There are as many variations of saddles as there are those willing to make and sell them.
              4. You will be able to look at the saddles in use when you go to a ride. Ask the owners. You may even be able to borrow one to try out.
              5. Saddles are expensive.
              6. Your horse may change shape as it gets conditioned. I'm on my 3rd for one horse - and it's got a merino fleece seat!

              Clothing - whatever is comfy and doesn't chafe. It's a good idea to wear hiking boots because sometimes you have to lead your horse, and regular riding boots don't give a good foothold. If you're doing 25 milers and up, have a bum bag for a drink, pain tabs, sun screen, hoof pick etc. A good watch with stop watch function is vital. And I always have a leather string on the saddle to fix bridle breakages. (Never used it yet)
              Embark on a conditioning programme for your horse, and yourself.
              Basic info here:


              Endurance legs have to be stronger for longer than show horses, and they need heart/lung fitness too.

              And Go The Distance is my 'bible'. It's a bit old by now, but still full of very good info.


              • #8
                I ride in a Solstice. Great saddle. Fits my wide Rocky filly, and my wide Crabbet/Egyptian gelding, and it also fit my wide huge giant 15.3 full bodied QH. ha ha.

                Like I said before check out


                Try not to hop on any bandwagon, thinking you "have to have" such in such do do such and such. Try to follow YOUR heart, and what is BEST for your horse and yourself.

                Like I said: You can be lady Godiva. Yes, people would look, but they would be thinking, gee, I hope that horse is ok, and boy she is gonna get sunburned on her bum!

                Most horses all love the trail. They get to be who they are, and that is ok!

                I started out and still do not have a LQ. I used to sleep in the cab of my truck for the longest time. Now I sleep in my tack room. Start small and easy on the endurance goodies, you may not need all that others think they need. There are some nice things to take along, but you will know what you need and what you really don't need. I have tack I have had for years and years, and it is still in great shape - so why replace for something fancy?

                Start today! And in no time you will laugh and laugh at those who still show. I did. And still wonder why they do it.

                Happy Trails!


                • #9
                  I agree with what everyone has posted!! All very sound advice. If I can just add my two cents, it will be painless and quick....

                  Hopefully, you will volunteer at some local rides and perhaps make some friends/contacts. If you do, maybe you will also find a mentor!! I CANNOT tell you enough what valuable resources the people are that have been doing this sport for years!!! They can "quide" you along and keep you from making the same mistakes that they might have made.

                  When I started in endurance, I listened.....A LOT!!! If anything, you will get suggestions and ideas to try on your own. Of course, no one thing will work for everyone, but trial and error can be beneficial for you and your equine partner!!

                  I hope that you fall in love with this sport as so many of us have. Good luck and Happy Trails!!


                  • #10
                    Hi Sickie!

                    So ya riding? Some fabulous not-sweating, non-buggy weather we are having.

                    Cold yeah, even here it is cold. But warm weather is right around the corner. Get ready!


                    • #11
                      How are y'all getting to see the pictures??
                      When I click on them I get either photo deleted or doesn't exsist.
                      You know why cowboys don't like Appaloosas?" - Answer: Because to train a horse, you have to be smarter than it is.


                      • #12
                        I believe that I remember that you are in Austin. (I live in Bastrop County.) Check out this Yahoo Group for Texas riders (mainly women): Lone Star Distance Riders. It's a wonderful way to meet other riders and to plan get-togethers for Texas rides, etc. There are many like-minded people in your area!

                        Oh, yeah, and you should definitely try McKinney Roughs (LCRA) since you're so close. Several endurance/competitive trail folks condition there and IT'S ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL.
                        (PM me if you want to meet up there and ride!)

                        Good luck!


                        P.S. I couldn't see the photos either, but I think I remember Val from when you trying to lease her last year.


                        • #13
                          Do any of you know of any rides in Ga/Al? I have always wanted to do Endurance but the only rides I could find were states away. I am just not comfortable trailering that distance, riding, then trailering home. I do not have the complete trailer/living quarters setup. Any info would be greatly appreciated.


                          • #14
                            Turn N Burn:

                            Go to AERC.org and look up the rides available.

                            You do not need a LQ to ride endurance. I camped many years in my tack room, slept in my truck, and STILL sleep in my tack room.

                            You will get used to hauling long distances in no time. Horses too. When you train your horse you will have to get them used to being hauled to new places, or it may not be a fun time when your horse has to stay over night at a strange place, with strange horses, and lots of activity.

                            My 3.5 yr rocky filly can't WAIT to go in the trailer, and go for a ride. She loves the trails, and going places. Also my competition arab, he jumps in and loves to go also. He loves to camp, well he likes be a voyeur mostly. Such a nosey horse. ha ha

                            There are rides in AL, FL, GA, TN, etc. check the Southeast (SE) region and you will find all kinds of rides.