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[RC] LDs as Endurance - RDCARRIE

I've been reading all the posts about pros and cons of redefining "endurance" to include LDs, and thinking about it.  My initial gut reaction was "no way!"  But I've been trying to examine exactly why I feel that way.  I wasn't around back in the beginning (been riding distance since 1999), so don't have that historical perspective.  Right now I do 50s, but also do LDs when appropriate for the horse I'm riding. 

I'm definitely opposed to calling LDs endurance.  LDs and 50s are totally different animals.  One can get away with a multitufe of "sins" in an LD that would jeopardize completion in a 50.  Pacing is a big one - I've always been a conservative rider, but being conservative is different from *knowing* how to pace in theory, and having the mental discipline to do so from the outset of a ride.  I know and see LD riders who go like a bat out of h*** on an LD, but may have to slow down toward the end because they did not conserve their horse.  Had they had another 25 miles to do on top of the LD, they very likely would have pulled.  Of course, the same is true for some 50 milers, but a big difference is, the 50 milers who can't/won't pace their horse may likely not complete, while LD riders may.  It can be difficult to make yourself go slower than your horse wants to, or slower than you condition, in order to make sure you finish with a strong horse...or finish at all.

Elytes, etc. - much less important (IMO) in an LD than at a longer distance, when the horse can really get into a deficit, esp. here in the humid SE.  Conditioning - one has to be more disciplined (IMO) to make sure the work is done during conditioning to enable the horse to comfortably complete a 50, whereas one can do maybe a shortish ride once a week and then go do an LD.

I guess what I'm saying is, I've learned a lot from doing 50s that I never learned doing LDs.  I'm not saying that people should not be proud of their LD mileage - heck I was thrilled to death when I completed my first one back in 1999, and I still cherish every completion award I get, regardless of distance.  But heck, I do conditioning rides on a regular basis that are nearly LDs (20 miles), and that is nothing for me...I certainly don't consider it endurance. 

I don't think that wanting to keep the extra effort (on the part of the rider and equine) of 50+ mile rides separate from LDs is LD bashing...it's simply making the distinction that they ARE different, in many ways.  If we redefine the sport to call LDs "endurance," what's next?  Many rides are now starting to offer shorter (12-15 mile) introductory rides.  In 10 or 15 years, are *those* riders going to demand that their rides be called endurance??

Dawn in East Texas