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Whew!  I didn't mean to open up such a can of worms (ascarids?) with the
arena conditioning thing.  I don't EXCLUSIVELY use the arena, but it sure
has been a useful tool in my conditioning routine.  As some of you ride
campers have agreed with me, I know that at least some off you out there
understood what I was saying..a horse that is balanced and has been
taught agility and control in the arena is well on it's way to be a
well-conditioned and TRAINED endurance horse.  I see lots of pics of
horses going up Cougar rock;  some pushing with their hind ends and some
pulling themselves up with their front legs.  Remember, Michael Jordan,
Olympic ice skaters, professional dancers, football players, swimmers,
all work in an Arena of sorts.  All pretty fit athletes that could
probably run a marathon, if they chose to do so.  An added plus of good
arena schooling is that my horses don't go ballistic at the start of a
ride; they don't waste a bunch of energy bucking and or dancing around on
their hind legs.  I can pace the ride at the speed I choose to travel,
not at the pace the Herd is traveling.  Be aware that as knowledgeable
horseman, we are taken seriously, but by the horse world in general,
endurance riders are considered "just passengers" that don't care how
well we ride and think we're so good because we can stay on a horse for
25 or 50 or 100 miles.  I know of many endurance riders that don't know
(Or care) what diagonal they are posting on and why it's important, and
don't know they are riding a runaway, but luckily in the right
Darn, I forgot to add that I've been doing endurance for 15 years (50
milers) , usually rode just to finish, but at times top tenned in spite
of myself and have been judged for best condition and received highest
score for the horse, but not overall as I ride as featherweight and
sometimes someone heavier was ahead of me.  But heck, I'll take the high
scoring horse any day!!   I retired my endurance horse at 20  (1000
miles) and made him
a school horse. He's taught over 20 kids and adults to ride and they  use
him in gymkhanas, team penning and jumping.  He's 25 now, sound as a
dollar.  While I'm waiting for my next horse to get old enough to do
endurance, I ride horses for other people on LD rides.  Have taken 3
different one's on their first rides and have gotten BC or reserve BC
twice.  Was 3rd regionally (WEST) last year.  Guess the arena stuff works
if you know how to do it...  Happy Trails!!

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