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Re: RC: Elderly Horses and Distance

Dear Angela,
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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