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[RC] 3 day 100's - Joy Mahler


I think that some of the reasons that the 3 day rides have lost interest is that we have brought our juniors and our novices up in endurance.  First with the LD’s and then if they are good and want to go on they enter the 50 mile to 100 mile rides.


Lets face it, it is easier to set up, vet in, ride, vet out, and go home.  Don’t flame me I have been on both sides and know that most take better care of the horse when someone is going to take points off. And unless you are top ten you are not treating your  horse the same as if you were going to be judged closely. You are not getting all the grime off your horse before you are loading them on the trailer to go home for instance. You are hoping that girth galls, maybe a slight lameness, or scrapes are going to heal enough before you need the horse to compete in a couple of weeks.  AND you hope no one notices.  There are a few that will go to the vet to check out something that shows up but there are very few.


The CRT’s are where most of the really good 100 milers learned to take care of their horses. We learned to fit our tack properly, pace and to feed and dedicate time to the many miles we did to condition.  I remember that I rode in the cold, wind, and hot to condition to do these 3 day 100’s.  Years later I figured out that once Orion was fit I could just load and ride with less weekly conditioning.  Did a great number of CTR rides and they were wonderful conditioners for a one day 100.  You found out about what worked and what didn’t really quick because the 3rd day after investing 80 miles you wanted to finish the last 20 more than anything.


The mentality of today is do it quick.  As in one day and go home and heal up whatever happened.  If you really want to know if you have done it right try a 3 day 100 competitive.  Lots of things can go off normal and you learn to take better care of your horse.  You meet people and get to know them instead of just passing in camp and on trail.  The longer distance in one camp let’s you become friends and learn from them and share your knowledge.  You even try to keep your favorite secrets until after the judging so they don’t use it to beat you.

I remember at the NJ100 several years you walked into the field in the evenings walking your horse and looking at all the others trying to figure out why this or that horse looked so good. We talked about the trail and the meal and our kids.  Wondered how Steve Rojek kept his clothes so clean..LOL.


If you really want to get close with your horse learn all about Him and figure out what keeps some of these wonderful horses going year after year, enter the class of multi-day competition. ECTRA has a versatility award and it is a hard thing to earn as it should be, but one of the most rewarding awards ever.


If any of you out there that haven’t done a 3 day ride, just try it once, you will never forget the experience OR the people that work so hard to keep it alive..

And a great big Thanks to all you volunteers and ride managers out there…