ridecamp@endurance.net: Re: are we better now?

Re: are we better now?

Joe Long (jlong@mti.net)
Tue, 04 Mar 1997 20:37:21 GMT

On Tue, 04 Mar 1997 13:10:59 -0600, you wrote:

>does anyone have any comments on winning times today versus winning times
>earlier in the sport? what about longevity/soundness of the horses?

>I just wonder as we have these discussions of saddle pads based on space age
>technology, shoes of the same, supplements out the wazoo, the very best
>electrolytes, to use or not use beet pulp, when to dose with elec., what the
>best heartrate reading is on our on-board HRM, etc....if all this has made
>that big of a difference in the sport/longevity of the horses.

>To listen to us and read more recent articles it makes one wonder how anyone
>even finished a ride in the early years :-). Yet looking thru an old EN I
>see a photo of Lain and Jerrilynn Gray (I think they have 8,000+ miles in
>the record books - Joe Long, is that right??) and they accumulated those
>miles on plain old steel shoes on the horse (what? no equithotics or mustads
>or easyboots), her wearing jeans and tennies in regular english stirrup
>irons (ouch!) ... <rest snipped>

Yes, Lain has over 8,000 miles.

For Kahlil's first 3,000 miles or so, there were no vet gates -- vet checks were
a fixed 30 to 60 minutes long, and if you recovered to 72 by your out time, on
you went. All we had were iron shoes. I rode all my rides in those days in
brown polyester trousers and running shoes, with no helmet. We had no heart
monitors, no ultrasound, no magnetic therapy. Kahlil's diet his whole career
was grass, grass hay, a standard commerical sweet feed, and a standard
multi-vitamin supplement. No oils, no beet pulp, etc. The few times I tried
some special supplement I always went back to the basics.

With no vet gates to slow the pace, there were *honest* 50 mile rides run in
around three hours or less. Practically no 50 miler was won in more than five
hours. I over-rode Kalhil once on a 100 mile ride, so that 55 minutes into an
hour hold his pulse was still 76. It came down to 72 just at the hour, and we
went on to finish in second place. How the horses survived some of the
practices of the early days remains something of a mystery, but survive they did
-- at least some of them.

IMHO the most important advances we've made have been in veterinary control.
And I'm glad we have better feeds, heart monitors, comfortable helmets, and all
the rest today. But a new rider starting out need not use any of these. Sound
basic nutrition, shoeing by a decent farrier (using keg shoes), and reasonable
conditioning are still all it takes for any good horse to finish endurance
rides, stay sound, and come back again and again. Those that wish can take
advantage of the high-tech stuff to get the very best out of themselves and
their horses, while others can just stick to the basics and still do very well.


Joe Long jlong@mti.net http://www.mti.net Business http://www.rnbw.com Personal

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