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[RC] [Guest] Building a Base - Ridecamp Guest

Angie McGhee Rides2far@xxxxxxxx

I too agree with Karen's idea. Patience is the key and the best way to get
it is to take your eye off the goal at the *end* of your conditioning quest
and start to enjoy the scenery. There are some good things about your first
couple of years. Enjoy them. The stress will be higher when it does come
time to turn up the speed (if that's your goal). Why not enjoy the days when
you don't give yourself an ulcer for missing your out time? There's lots of
stuff your horse needs to know like drinking, eating, sponging, pacing that
you need to teach at this stage. You can't teach it once you're racing.

I'm not the slowest early conditioner in the world. I don't spend weeks
walking my horses and then progress to a slow trot and LSD's for 2 years or
anything like that. I usually start out just trail riding for a month or so,
add more trotting for a month or so & more distance, then progress towards
mostly trotting & longer rides. I'll do a slow 50 miler on most horses after
90 days. The important thing to me is go easy on downhills, avoid sand or
deep mud, don't *push*. If a horse has a nice trot and can comfortably trot
the ride finishing with a pretty good time I'm not going to haul him down
and walk just to make a point of being super slow.

I rode my first Arab 2 years, 500 miles and he had *one* ride under 6 hours.
That was even when I tried to get him faster.  Kaboot did I believe his 2nd
ride under 6 hrs. That was probably too fast, but he was just such a
different horse and so much faster at the trot on the good footing...and so
much more motivated in that he never started slacking.  One thing that
helped me stay honest with him was sponsoring a junior on my old slower
horse for 2 years.

If I were starting that super talented horse that I screwed up over again I
would never have let myself race...*especially* to the finish (which I did
twice. DUH!) I would have let up and walked downhills. I still would have
let him make good time, but I think if his natural relaxed gait had been
finishing fast I'd have made a point of giving him a full month off after
the ride.  I think that most lameness at rides got started at the ride
*before* the one where the horse got pulled. It's adding insult to injury
that gets you.

As to the person who expected to get flamed for doing 700 miles in one
year...why should anyone flame you? Sounds safe enough the way you  have
spaced them. I think the most dangerous thing you've done is announce your
plans which is like holding up a metal rod during a lightning storm. Ever
heard, "Man makes plans and the gods laugh?" >g< I envy your ability to
space your rides out 1 per month. The way our weather is all the good riding
weather is crammed into April & May then Sept. Oct. Nov. Our 100's seem to
all be within a 5 week span.

It seems like there are such extremes. Every time someone tells a speedster
to slow down someone who is already being conservative seems to think they
need to back off even more. If trying to be careful, you're probably fine.
Beware of telling yourself "This horse is *different* he doesn't need all
that time like other horses.  His muscles may be different, but you can't
see those tendons and ligaments and they'll make your life miserable.

Remember the old analogy what  you have here is a jeep with a chain pulling
a log out of the woods. The jeep is the muscular system. The chain
represents tendons & ligaments. The log is the muscle. It doesn't matter how
great your jeep is if the chain is weak. A strong jeep & chain but rotten
log won't work either. Just be careful not to go to work as soon as you get
a strong jeep.

If you are feeling unsure after seeing someone else who is going so much
faster so much sooner and listening  to some saying, "look! He was right all
along! You don't need a base!"
Try looking at it this way. If somebody said, "My infant doesn't need to
ride in a car seat" and proceeds to lay the child on the front seat and
drive home without having a wreck...would you say, "Look! He's a genius! He
was right all along!" and quit using one on *your* child?


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