Check it Out!
speaking of pulling . . .
I've been mulling over thoughts I had at Outlaw Trail last week and really
need some advice. Granted, I only rode LD, and it is clearly the opinion of
most people that any horse can do LD, almost without worrying.
I'm not sure I agree - certainly if you take into account a multi-day or
tough terrain or extreme weather. But I also don't know what point to look
at my horse and know that she's approaching a limit because I don't think
we've been close to that. That's one of the reasons that I wanted to do a
LD multi-day first. That way I could see if we approached limits w/o being
25 miles from camp and un-prepared to handle anything.
We've been riding around 3 days a week this summer - usually 2 days 6-8
miles w/o much terrain at 5-7 mph and one day 10-12 miles on steeper terrain
around 4.5 mph. We've done 3 CTRs this summer, 2 tough, 1 easy, would have
done another tough one if I'd been able. We've also done some long weekends
with really tough trails at Steamboat CO. I really don't consider this
enough conditioning to be ready for endurance even though the horse seems to
be an exceptional athlete - low heart rate and excellent recoveries. But I
just can't seem to get the time and weather cooperation to do more.
So, I started out that ride being prepared to pull at the slightest hint of
hurting my horse. Well, what does that mean? I really don't know!
Obviously I need a lot more miles with her, but I don't necessarily want a
lot of "approaches to the edge". At first I was worried because my horse
would seem a little tired, but then she'd drink or really recover at a rest
stop or lunch. So I worried that I was pushing too hard - ok, with this
horse you don't push, she'll keep going as long as there is a horse in front
of her. Which to me is all the more reason I have to watch her carefully.
But then I got thinking - she should be tired! She just walked up that big
hill or whatever! But she always recovered and moved on strongly again. I
think she seemed the most tired on the second day right before lunch - that
day we kept the least consistent speed, really moving out for a while in the
Again, I know, I need to ride more and learn these limits from my horse.
But I don't want (or have the time or environment) to get to limits every
time we ride just so that I can recognize them.
I think if I normally rode 4 days a week 15+ each ride, I would just in
general feel more confident that she could handle a given ride - but I'd
have to quit my job to do that (and I would if I could!).
So, enough rambling! I think what I'm really asking is what criteria do you
look for to know that your horse has had enough - before reaching a limit
for which you hate your self? We had a lowered head on long hills, that has
usually been my point of knowing that she's tired, so I wouldn't ask for a
trot until she'd had a rest. We had a slowed walk - but I'd love to get
that slow walk more - so sometimes maybe she's walking slower because she's
comfortable and enjoying her self. That's how she walks on conditioning
rides or with a small group that she doesn't feel the need to race. I can
mostly tell the difference though. Obviously if she didn't recover as the
terrain got easy or after she got a rest, I would be concerned. But do I
need to be concerned every time she feels a little bit tired? What are the
interim indications between walking a little slower and a metabolic issue
that I can look for?
I hope this made sense - I've been told I baby her, but I don't want to
learn the hard way! We are thinking about doing a 50 next month (if the
weather holds in CO to keep her in shape and if it's good enough for the
drive to NM) - anyone have any thoughts on what Apache Kid would be like for
us? I'd like to do a 50 the first day and then reserve judgement for a 25
the following day. But the first day is a 55 - that additional 5 miles
might be a lot!!!
Thanks for any advice!
Check it Out!
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