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[RC] Pacing - k s swigart

Kathy Mayeda said:

Last year I rode with someone who did intervals of walk and trot over the 
long flat
stretches.  This year I rode with someone who maintained long sustained 
trots.  Then
I rode with someone else who would walk, then canter to catch up.  
All three regularly top ten endurance rides of 50 to 100 miles.

Since you know that all three of these riders regularly top
ten using three different strategies; you have got to know
that all three strategies CAN work.
Beau and I discovered the beauty of maintaining a long sustained trot.  We 
used to
be the surge and rest type, which I think annoys some of the other riders.  
What do
you think?

What I think is you should ask your horse which strategy
works best for him, since you know that any one of them
COULD work well for some other horse. And he certainly would
know better than any of us, we never having met the horse.

If you don't have good enough communication with your horse
to understand him when he tells you what works best for him,
that might be one of the first things you want to work on

I wouldn't worry too much about if/whether your choice of
pacing annoys some of the other riders.  If they don't like
the fact that you are not pacing the horse the same way that
they are pacing their horses, then they can match their
pacing to yours.  There is no reason that you should have to
match your pacing to somebody else's horse.

There is nothing inherently "better" about sustaining a
constant pace, and no reason that those who don't maintain a
constant pace should feel compelled to "yield" to the
unstated pressure of those who do just because they choose
to be annoyed by the fact that you aren't doing the same
thing they are.  You are, after all, riding your horse, not
the other guy's horse.

Do what is right for YOUR horse...and train it to go down
the trail with you, not just any horse that happens to pass
by (no matter how many times it may pass by).  

And if it annoys YOU to play leap frog with another horse,
you have the option of riding faster to get away from it, or
slowing down to get away from it.

Me?  I like to canter where the terrain is right for
cantering, to trot where the terrain is right for trotting
and to walk where the terrain is right for walking.  But if
you are asking about some of those long flat stretches
across the Panamint Valley where the terrain is right for
anything, then I am a proponent of the maxim, "A change is
as good as a rest." How that applies to my choice of gait
and/or pace for the horse that I am riding depends entirely
upon which horse I am riding.

If I were on a Paso Fino, I would do something completely
different. :)

Orange County, Calif.

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