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a new twist on interval training :)

Ride a CMO with a very experienced, competitive team! lol

Yesterday Lakota and I did our first CMO, a non-sanctioned fun ride put on
by our local Arab horse club.  I had never done a CMO before, and hadn't
the faintest clue how to read a compass, but I decided to give it a try
cuz it sounded like fun, something I've been wanting to do. I told the RM
that Lakota and I ride endurance and like to boogie down the trail, hoping
to get put on a team with people who would really go, rather than a buncha
putzers who wanted to walk all day and make my knees ache. :( I wanted
this to be a conditioning ride for us too, since we're planning to do the
50 at Goethe in 2 weeks.

Well, lemme tell you, I never knew that CTR people would ride so FAST when
they're not being judged!! LOL The top local team, Don & Leslie Leland,
agreed to let me ride with them, if I wanted to really boogie.  Silly me,
thinking we'd be doing some fast trotting and the occasional canter.  We
did the occasional fast trot with lots of fast cantering and plenty of
good gallops!  It's the first time I've ever gotten Lakota's heartrate
over 180 without spooking. <BG>  I watched his recoveries, tho, and he was
doing great, dropping like a rock every time we slowed down or stopped.

I would never have dreamed I could gallop full-blast with one hand on the
reins and the other hand holding a white piece of paper flapping in the
wind in front of my face so I could actually *read* the clues!!

It was really fun.  There were four plates that were our objectives, with
a word written on each plate that we had to write down on our maps and
turn in for points.  Each plate was hidden in an area marked on the map by
a circle 1/4-mile across, and there were three "clues" for each plate,
which involved using degree markings on the compass to triangulate among
the three clue points that you had to find (e.g., the first white-banded
tree on the south side of a road, a large pine tree with baling twine at
its base, stuff like that).  The four plates were scattered across an area
4 miles square, not in any order, so we could find our own way around
using the horse trails and roads and such.  The first team to find all 4
plates and get back to camp won -- and it was our team!  We beat the other
team by about 3 minutes.  Not that *I* was any help at all, lemme tell
you, I was just along for the ride! :)  These people were really good.
When we found the first clue, Don would take a reading and send Leslie on
that line, then direct me to another point to take a reading and intersect
with Leslie.  But half the time they found the darn plate before I even
found my marker to take a reading. :(  

It was a lotta fun, though, I really had a blast, and it was a terrific
conditioning ride.  We hauled @$$ from place to place, then stopped and
wandered around at a walk or slow trot for a couple of minutes to find the
marker, then hauled @$$ to the next one.  The markers were each about 2
miles apart, then we had a 4-mi run back to camp.  So it worked as great
interval training, because I got to see Lakota's recoveries each time we
stopped to look for a marker (maybe that's why I couldn't find the plates
-- I was always looking at my HRM and my watch to clock his recoveries

Anyway, I had soooo much fun, I'm asking Santa for a compass and a book on
orienteering, so I can learn what to do!  Next ride, I'll go with a slower
team and try to really do some orienteering.  Yesterday was the perfect
conditioning ride, and just what I wanted to do this weekend anyway.
Lakota was an angel too, all business, nose pointed down the trail, paying
no attention to anything on either side, even when the other horse spooked
a few times.  His recoveries were great, and he looked great at the end.
He came right down after the 4-mi run to the camp.  Within 15 minutes of
running across the finish line, his HR was 44, sweat was drying and he was
scarfing hay -- probably thinking he only had half an hour to eat and rest
and then I was gonna take him back out again. :)  I told Don & Leslie it
was such a pleasure to meet people who really liked to ride, and who had
horses fit enough & sensible enough to do it, and they said it was really
nice for them to bring along a newbie who wasn't whining about how fast
they were going. <BG>  

Anyway, I highly recommend CMO for those of you wanting to do different
things on the trail with your horses.  It's fun!  There is a national CMO
group with a website at where you can learn more
about it.  It's great training & conditioning for endurance!

Glenda & Lakota
Mobile, AL
AERC # M18819 & H27310
SE Region

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