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Re: [RC] 100 mile discussion-Time Off - terre

Something that hasn't been discussed in terms of layoff after an event is how much effort was put into the event in the first place.  Logic tells me that if I take my horse and ride that horse well below it's capabilities, I am not going need a lot of time between events.  I think the multiday ride proves this point.  Obviously, horses can do 5 days of 50s without any time off.  So the blanket theory of x number of days off after a 50 mile ride does not always need to hold true.  But on the other hand, if I ride my horse close to his maximum capabilities in a 50 mile ride, he is definitely going to need a rest period before being put back to regular work.  That may be one day for every 10 miles or it might be more DEPENDING on how the horse is bouncing back.  Knowing my horse and how he normally recovers gives me a pretty good idea of how a particular competition effected him.  
Now, another aspect that comes into play is peaking for a particular event.  I think that a lot of riders I know do this for the Tevis Cup each year.  They use rides for a few months prior to the event to "gear up" or "peak".  During this process there is an increase in intensity with training and/or competition culminating in the planned event.  After the big competition or ride, there is usually a lay off period or vacation as Terre calls it before beginning the next cycle of conditioning, training, peaking, competition, rest or lay off.

We could ask, "why do we need to rest them?  What purpose does it serve?"  I can think of 3--a)to recover/replenish energy stores depleted by hard work, b)to allow time for 'wear and tear' damage to heal, and c)to allow a 'mental' break from the stress of the event--"relaxation".
        None of these things are purely a factor of mileage.  All of them relate more to 'how hard the horse worked' than how far it went.  The same distance, terrain, climate conditions etc, might be 'easy' for one horse and 'extremely hard' for another, based on training, age, and genetic capacity.
         Furthermore, I think we need to consider that last item.  The excitement of ridecamp, the exposure to strange horses and living conditions, a long trailer ride can all affect the immune system, lowering the horses resistance to disease, etc.  (This is not even thinking about the risk of "souring" them--most endurance horses seem to THRIVE on this kind of stress!).  But a long trailer ride after a "peak" performance (such as Kim mentioned, or if you have to trailer a long way to a 100 miler) is taxing the horse at a time it is already tired.  So I would be very much inclined to give the horse additional time off after a scenario like that than something closer to home.
        The first two factors are PROBABLY addressed in 2-3 weeks FOR MOST HORSES.  The last one is harder to assess, and must be done on an individual basis.  I still maintain that "light" work--which might not even include riding--should recommence soon after the "major workout", and in most cases it is "safe" to attend another ride about 3 weeks after this--how competitively you ride at the next event, is--of course--another matter!


Re: [RC] 100 mile discussion-Time Off, KimFue