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Re: [RC] starting 50s vs LD - Truman Prevatt

There are several things I expect my endurance horses to know and have the ability to do before a 50.

There are several issues that I consider. First is repetitive stress. The same motion - no matter how easy - done over and over causes stress. That stress - like others can be conditioned for. If it is not conditioned for adequately it will lead to injury - both chronic and acute. Endurance riding is the poster child for repetitive stress. Endurance horses have foot fall after foot fall, muscle contraction (of the same muscles) after muscle contraction. Distance is a multiplier when it comes to repetitive stress. There are twice as many foot falls and muscle contractions in 50 miles as there are in 25 miles.

I condition my horse to handle the two stresses in the sport speed stress and repetitive stress. The way I deal with conditioning repetitive stresses is through a slow increase of miles followed by a slow increase in the speed. A 25 mile ride is very important to me for doing this with a new horse. I will use a combination of LD's and CTR (we have a wonderful format for CTR in Florida) to do this. I believe that jumping right into a 50 is like teaching someone to swim by throw them in over their heads - it in the long run doesn't produce a good swimmer.

A horse was not meant to carry weight. A horse wasn't born with a saddle on it's back. It takes a long time to adequately condition the back. The amount of accumulated stress on a new horse's back is directly proportional to saddle time which is in turn directly proportional to distance. Again I feel that the 25 mile ride is very necessary in building a back. This is especially true the heavier the rider.

There are certain skills a horse must have for me to be comfortable with it as an endurance horse. Such things as being able to round the back and carry the rider with a rounded back, turn on the fore hand, turn on the haunches, side pass easily from side to side, flying lead changes, etc. While those things are best taught in an arena or on the trail by oneself, the horse has to able to execute them flawlessly during the excitement at the start of an endurance ride. Since there are other reasons to do a 25 mile ride, it is also a wonderful time to practice our skills.

When my horse shows that he has acclimated to the repetitive stress of endurance, when he shows his back has gained the necessary strength and when he shows that he can execute the skills I find necessary for an endurance horse then it is time for me to consider moving him up. While some may find it strange that I have a numerical threshold for that - do. It's pretty simple, when all the other factors are ready and he has enough strength and conditioning to comfortably do a 3 to 3:30 25 - it's time to move up him to a slow 50.

At least for me I don't start new horse that have no endurance experience in a 50. They get CTR's and LD's until they are ready. Different horses can be different regarding the time it takes.

That's the way I do it, but ike the old '60's song by the Isley Brothers say, "...it's you bag - do what you want to do. I can't tell you..."



"Problems worthy of attack prove their worth by fighting back."

- Paul Erdos (1913-1996)


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Re: [RC] starting 50s vs LD, terre