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[RC] 3 day 100's - Carla Richardson

I think people learn in both disciplines how to care for their horses, or they don't last long in either sport, and certainly a horse might not last as long.? It gets back to the argument of who is best, who knows more, etc.? Instead of saying one is better, why not look for the best in both sports?

How long ago did you ride in NATRC, Angie?? :-)? In defense of NATRC, I will say that sponging a horse down at a P&R is completely legal.? Some take off their tack, some do not, but it is definitely considered good horsemanship to clean and cool your horse by sponging, and a judge might even take off points if you don't make an effort to help your horse cool down.? And it can be water you carry, definitely.? Most of the rides in region 3, especially in NM, have no water on the trail (not much grass, either), so riders do carry water for sponging, and treats for their horses.? Maybe it wasn't legal in the past; there have been a lot of rule changes over the years.? For example, in the early years of NATRC, letting your horse eat on the trail was not allowed.? Now, it's encouraged.? There has also been a change about?checking metabolics more, out on the trail, rather than waiting til back in camp.? That's another very positive change.

As far as riding at your own pace, you can ride alone or with others.? You do have a minimum and maximum time on the trail, overall, but there's a lot of leeway during the day.? You can definitely ride your horse at your own pace, although if you ride too fast or too slow you might miss a P&R or a judge's observation.? If you come in too soon or too late, you will lose points or even be DQ'd.? But if you're overtime at an endurance ride it's basically the same, you won't get points and may not even get a completion.? The main difference is there's no minimum time in endurance, of course, just a max time.
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Two things that NATRC taught me was how to camp with my horse, tying to the trailer correctly and safely, and how to pace.? How to pace a trail has helped me ride endurance, to know how fast I'm going without depending on a GPS :-) and how to gauge miles as I'm going down the trail.

I agree 100%?with you that starting a horse on 50's is better than starting with LD's.? The hardest thing for my horse when we started to do 50's was that he had done 3 or 4 novice ctr's (20 miles/day) and two LD's before we tried a 50.? When we got to the lunch stop at our first 50, he thought his day was over.? Especially since it was back at camp and he was at his trailer.? When I got on him to head out for the 2nd half of the day, he was surprised and not overly enthusiastic.? :-)? He has since learned, but it took a while for him to figure out we weren't just going 25 miles, but 50.? I've heard several long-time endurance riders say this, and I do understand it now.? I have another point that I agree 100% with you, Angie -- getting off and walking is good for both the horse and the rider, and I do wish NATRC would amend its rules in this regard.? I LOVE the fact that I can get off and walk, especially on steep downhills, but really any time I feel I need a break, on an endurance ride.
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As far as 3-day 100's teaching you more about caring for your horse, I'll say that a multi-day, 3 day or 5 day endurance ride will teach you a heck of a lot about how to care for yourself, as well as your horse.? Does your horse stay sound, is your horse's back "ouchy" or cool and comfortable, does he lose weight or does he actually gain weight and happily go down the trial on day 3?? Are you stiff and sore or moving easily after 2 full days of riding?? Are you eating and drinking enough to stay hydrated and energetic?
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Here's the thing --?a two day ctr will teach you a lot, as well, it's just less extreme with slower speeds and less miles.? There's a place for both sports, not everyone is suited for ctr's, not everyone is suited for endurance.? Horses, same thing -?we all have our place!? I think the two sports complement each other very well, actually.? There's more we have in common than you might think.?
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One last thing -- Angie, I don't bathe my horses, either, and I've heard many ctr judges tell the riders "just knock the chunks off" and come in for your check out.? In other words, take care of your horse, that's the priority, as it should be -- in any horse sport.
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Carla Richardson
Colorado