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Re: RC: Elderly Horses and Distance
My Arabian gelding Classy is almost 19 and shows no sign of wanting to slow
down in endurance riding. I started seriously doing endurance with him only
about 3 years ago (this was not my choice.) Classy was a nutcase when I got
him at age 12. As you can see it took a few years of retraining and mental
rehab work to get him to the point of ever even able to do an endurance ride
without killing himself (mentally) or me (being just plain crazy). When I
first bought Classy he was anything but an ideal endurance horse. I could not
ride him with other horses on the trail because he would just get sooooo
worked up. He literally would practically have a heart attack. I could feel
his heart pounding between my legs while riding him. When he was around 15
years old we tried our first ride a 20 mile NATRC ride. I thought the nice
easy gentle pace would be good for him mentally. At 15 miles I had to pull
him for having a heart murmur. He was just full of himself the whole way.
Everyone thought I was absolutely nuts for even thinking about ever doing
endurance with Classy. He has anything but ideal conformation ( very long
back). A very rough gait
( hard on himself and me), and mentally he was just nutzo around other
horses. Well, I did not have any money to just go out and buy another horse
and I was very attached to him. I was at the same time very much in love with
the idea of someday doing Endurance riding. The fact of the matter was, I was
just plain stuck with Classy, and I knew I just had to work with what I had.
It was a very tough frustrating road but we finally got there with lots and
lots of training miles (physically and mentally) and most of all
Today Classy has reached almost 1,000 miles. Within the past year he
completed a very tough 80 mile ride (placed 2nd), 65 mile ride (placed 5th)
and has done several 50 miles rides a few of them in the top 10. It may not
sound like much to some people, but it just brings tears to my eyes when I
think about where we started and what this horse has accomplished. I look
out the window and I do not see a 18 year old horse. Mentally he is still a 5
year old showoff.
Angela, if your horse is in good condition, healthy, and you work well and
enjoy being around the horse. I highly recommend going for it. Try a 25 miler
slow.Just go and enjoy it!!! Endurance is what keeps me and my guy
incredibly fit, happy, and young. Remember the phrase . . . "You are only as
old as you feel." Good Luck!!!!
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