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[RC] Log book -- What do you record? - k s swigart

Beth Leggieri said:

Because private replies to my question about "log book adoption"
?were so helpful, I'm posting a follow-up in hopes of?generating further
?suggestions?from which others will benefit.? Posting public replies
?would?be most helpful.? Thank you!
What data do you record on?"conditioning" rides?? 
How do you maintain your?spreadsheet???
How do you use the data you record?
What other sorts of records do you maintain for your horse?

I don't keep and never have kept, even when I was a rank beginner, any such 
records for any of my horses, other than what I keep in my head.

I do have some standard rides that I do and will make a mental note of how the 
horse does on such rides (which usually consist of something with significant 
hill work towards the end), and at my old place I had a trail that I called my 
"test hill."? And the test was "if the horse can canter all the way from the 
bottom to the top of the hill, then it is ready to do a 50 mile ride."? The 
hill was about 2 miles long with a 1200 ft elevation gain, fairly steep with 
multiple switch-back turns for the first two thirds, a flatter straighter spot 
in the middle, and then a short steep part at the very end.

It was not merely a test of "can the horse gallop from the bottom to the top of 
the hill?" but rather the things that I was testing inlcuded "Is the horse 
schooled enough to be ratable?" "Is the horse schooled enough to make the 
flying lead changed through the turns?" (because no way could the whole thing 
be cantered on one lead) "Is the horse fit enough to be able to 'rest' while 
still cantering where the trail flattened out a bit?" and "Does the horse still 
have enough left to not quit cantering as it comes up to the top of the last 
steep bit?" (As almost all horses,even when they are NOT tired will slow down 
just before they get to the top of a steep hill, and you have to push them 
through it...if they are too tired, they won't let themselves be pushed).

Oh yeah, and since the only way to get to the test hill from the barn was to 
ride out up a mile and then go DOWN it first, the test also included trotting 
down the hill, so the test always included "Is the horse sufficiently schooled 
and conditioned to be able to trot down a long hill without slamming onto its 
front end."?

The test was often done at the end of a 10-12 mile ride that included 2000 - 
3000 ft of climbing (and decent) before I got to it.

I don't have access to that hill anymore (since I don't keep my horses at that 
barn anymore), but I do have access to hills, including "hills of significance" 
which I can stick in at the end of a training ride to see if the horse is fit 
enough and ratable enough to get from the bottom to the top without running out 
of gas.? I also have what I have dubbed "the endless climb" (one of those 
trails where you keep thinking you are getting to the top only to find out that 
there is more hill beyond as you approach what looks like the top) and can take 
horses up that and then see how much they have left in them when I ask them to 
carry themselves properly DOWN the steep slide at the end (horses that are 
really tired can't do self carriage down steep hills).

Find places where you can "test" the level of your horse's conditioning, and 
you don't have to keep track of what you are doing along the way to get there.? 
If the horse can do the tests easily, then you know it is fit.? If the horse 
can't do the tests easily, you are getting it fit by riding the tests.

I don't ride with a heart rate monitor.? I don't even ride with a watch.? I 
just go out riding and pick my trail for however much time (and horse) I think 
I (or whoever I am riding with) have for that day.? You can condition an 
endurance horse by just going out and riding without keeping track of much of 
anything at all.

But then, I also do A LOT of speed work, mostly because both I and the horse 
think it is fun.? MY definition of LSD is what I do AT an endurance ride.? I 
always compete at much slower speeds and longer distances than I ride at at 
home (e.g. I don't go out and do 11-12 miles including the "hills of 
significance" in about 35 minutes at an endurance ride, which is what I did for 
a conditioning ride on Christmas Day with the horse I took to Warners last 
weekend to do ~25 miles of drag riding and trail marking).

It is also worthwhile to note that I can tell you where, about how far, and 
about how fast I went on my conditioning ride in Christmas Day after having 
told you that I don't "keep records" on any of my horses.? It isn't that I 
don't keep ANY records, I just don't keep any other than the ones I keep in my 
head.? And as many people here should know by now...I have a memory like a 
steel trap.? I could probably tell you every ride I have done on every horse 
for at least the last 3 months (and I ride 3-6 horses a day 5-6 days a week), 
and I can certainly tell you about every endurance ride I have done on every 
horse for the last 18 years (I can even tell you where my AERC record is wrong).

All that said, you CAN just go out and ride your horse and occasionally "test" 
your horse even without having a good memory, and still be able to adequately 
condition a horse for an endurance ride.

Orange County, Calif.

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