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Re: [RC] newbie needs advise - Diane Trefethen

Hi Kimberly,

You know the old saying about the longest journey starting with just one step? Well similarly, no matter where you are going, you have to start from here. "Here" is where your horse is physically, right now. The "where you are going" is a horse carrying good flesh, fit and conditioned enough to easily cover about 12 miles in an hour and a half and look like he had just taken a nice stroll in the park.

So first, you want your horse in almost perfect flesh... enough meat on him so you can't see his ribs when he is just standing there but not so much that one can't see those ribs moving under his flesh when he is trotting along. Your brief description sounds as if you have not been working your horse so he should NOT be underweight. If he is, you will want to have his teeth checked (and probably floated) and add some grain to his rations... like a pound or two each day to start. If he is overweight or just right, you will want to maintain your current feeding program for now. How much you feed your horse is dependent on what your horse tells you he needs. *I* could tell you that you need such and such an amount of grain or this or that supplement but remember... that advice would only be "in general". For YOUR horse, listen to what HE tells you. As you work him, when you see him start to drop weight (you begin to see a hint of rib when he is "just standing there"), then you need to gradually increase his calories and protein.

KISS is a good philosophy. Feed him what he is used to, increase his grain if he is losing weight, cut his grain if he doesn't need it. The secret to successfully going whatever distance you have set as your goal is not in the feed or the supplements, except that they be enough to keep your horse in good flesh. The secret is in regularly conditioning your horse. You can compare the regular conditioning to doing your daily homework and the fancy supplements to cramming. The latter, cramming, might work (or might not) but will never leave you with anything permanent. The former will give you a horse that is truly ready to do the job (or a student that has actually learned the material).

The Eagle Ranch Final Fling I & II offers both a 25-mile ride and a 50-mile ride on two separate days. You can enter either the 25 or the 50 on each day but not both on the same day. Some people will do just one of the four rides some will do two.

How will you know your horse is ready? Just remember "where you are going" and when you get there, you are ready :)

Good luck and have fun!

Diane

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[RC] newbie needs advise, Sacred Wind Arabians