OK so one of the half-finished drafts I’ve had sitting around for weeks relates to endurance. Specifically, after reading quite a few endurance ride recaps and following some bloggers who dabble (or specialize) in it, I’m getting really intrigued. I don’t think it’s a secret to anyone who has read more than two or three of my posts to know that I get pretty bored in the arena.
Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely see the value of arena work, and that’s where Cinna will be for the foreseeable future (as she is not trustworthy above a walk on the trail yet). And I’m still looking into restarting lessons again this summer, because correct dressage is the basis for SO MANY things, and I really do enjoy it. Also I guess there’s the whole president of my GMO for the next two years thing also? Yeahhhhh my timing is excellent.
|Useful... but I still get bored. |
But things are different with Ruby. I noticed last spring she seemed to be getting a little… for lack of a better word... stale, in the arena. I made a significant effort to mix things up by not only working in various arenas, but also doing dressage work on the trail and out in the fields, and that seemed to help for a while.
But by last fall, I think we were both fairly burned out again. Some of our favorite outings last year were exploring new trails with friends, particularly the hunter pace! One of my goals for 2017 was to do more cross training, including jumping, because Ruby really seemed to enjoy it. And I’m not about shoving a square peg in a round hole – if my horse doesn’t want to do dressage (or just dressage), we’ll find something else. And I get the impression from her lately that she’s ready to branch out.
|Arena work is excellent for the baby brain. |
|I would infinitely prefer endurance to jumping things again.|
She never gets tired on the trail – she will trot along, swingy and soft on the buckle, for as long as you’ll let her. She eats up miles with her ground-covering walk. She’s gotten more or less rock solid about passing just about anything weird you might see out and about – and while crossing unfamiliar water still needs work, it’s definitely in her wheelhouse.
So I started doing crazy things…. Like joining endurance Facebook groups so I could lurk and read. I explored the AERC website. I even went so far as to find some rides in my state, including one on my birthday weekend that offered a 10 mile intro ride. Then I bought a hackamore, so that I could let Ruby graze on the trail. And in my defense, I did already own a fugly nylon halter/bridle that I got in a tack lot at the auction, so I didn’t even need a new headstall for it or anything. (Also, I found pictures online of really cool customized paracord-covered hacks and showed them to my paracord goddess who told me she could deck mine out in teal/black)
|I have soooooo many trail shots haha. |
But here’s where I probably jumped off into the deep end – I might have talked DH and my mom into going in together on my early birthday present….. a flex-tree Tex-Tan endurance saddle on consignment at my local tack shop super cheap because it needed a good cleaning and some TLC…. Oops?
|Fugly but functional.|
Anyone who knows me knows I really can’t do anything halfway – once I’m interested in something, I’m kind of an all or nothing person. And occasionally those phases pass – I bought a doma vaquero saddle for Topaz and briefly got super interested in traditional Spanish tack and attire… thankfully that (expensive) obsession flamed out quickly (although I do still have that saddle...).
Or driving – DH was interested in that, so I got him a driving horse, a harness, and cart… which we used all of, maybe two times? Yeah epic fail on us there. So this might just be a passing thing…. Or it might not. I don’t think I will ever have the time or access to space to really train for 50 or 100 mile rides (nor is my breed choice ideal, haha), but there’s really nothing stopping me from dipping my toe in some intro or LD rides.
|Topaz indulging me when we played with the neighbor's cows.|
So let’s hear it from my endurance friends – can we hack it? Give me all your favorite resources for a total newbie! I’ve been reading up on vet checks, containment systems, conditioning, electrolyting, tack options, heart monitors, shoes vs boots, the works. I’m still in the completely and utterly overwhelmed stage right now, so what I’d love to do is find someone local with experience who would let me tag along and answer dumb questions for a while, and maybe find someone who could accompany me to an intro ride or two (or maybe an LD, if I get super brave). Anyone have any central Missouri endurance contacts?
Also, thank you so much for all the kind comments on the last post. We got good news Saturday and Monday night in regards to test results, so we're definitely heading in the right direction! DH is still fairly down (medication side effects are the worst), but hopefully will bounce back in a few weeks.
I'm no help on finding someone local but I will say that on my few trips out to an endurance ride I've found the people to be some of the most helpful ever! Perhaps contact ride management and see if they know of anyone who would take a newbie under their wing?ReplyDelete
Oh that's a good idea I hadn't considered!! Thank you!Delete
AERC has a list of mentors by state. That is a good place to start!Delete
Oh how did I miss that when I was exploring their site?? Unfortunately I seem to be in an endurance-light area, haha. I will definitely try to touch base with the two Missouri contacts though, maybe I can meet up with them at a ride or something!Delete
I know nothing but I'll be cheering from over here!ReplyDelete
Your commitment to helping me accumulate tack is to be commended 😋Delete
Do the short intro ride! I did one that had an educational session beforehand that covered a lot of what would happen that day. It was a lot of fun!ReplyDelete
Yeah that's what I'm definitely interested in trying this summer! Your posts was one of the ones that made me go "hmmm maybe we really could do this!" HahaDelete
Trail riding with the right horse is just unbeatable. Isabel was a beast on the trails and felt like we could go forever (even tho the longest we ever did was like 8 miles lol). I can totally see why you're interested in exploring this with Ruby - sounds like some intro rides would be a perfect test!!ReplyDelete
Ruby really seems SO happy on the trails! So I'll let her tell me if this is a good fit. We've done 7-8 miles a few times and I did 10 on Topaz once or twice, so I definitely think it's an attainable goal.Delete
I'm just type A enough that if I'm going to do it I want to do it RIGHT so I really want to find someone to mentor me a bit so I don't make a fool out of myself 😂
I can give you advice on how not to do it 😂🙈ReplyDelete
Thanks you're so helpful 😋Delete
Don't know too much about distance training ponies, but I've been a distance runner myself so I've always been really interested in endurance riding. It's 100% on my list of things to do someday.ReplyDelete
Trail riding with a good horse and a pup is unbeatable.
The technical challenges and dedication to the training for LD also really piques my interest.
I'll be interested to watch on the sidelines while you learn so that someday when I want to explore it I'll have someone to go to. ;)
Yeah I'm definitely interested in learning the ins and outs of the technical aspects and getting out on the trails more for conditioning!Delete
If you want company on some shorter conditioning rides, I want to get Mort out some more once the weather isn't crappy!Delete
If only the weather would start cooperating!Delete
First, YAY GOOD NEWS.ReplyDelete
Second, be careful on those facebook endurance groups. They get really flamey really quick and can make you feel like shit for NO reason. I don't have central Missouri endurance contacts but I would absolutely be more than willing to field your questions via email, FB messenger, or FB. I'm kind of a bad influence though because I'm gonna really encourage you to Do The Thing and Love The Thing because it's my favorite thing ;-)
estout18 at gmail dot com // find me on FB (or are we already friends on there?) // I'll give ya a # via one of the other two mediums if you'd prefer that haha
Welcome to the dark side. Erm, I mean, the really awesome cross training side that your dressage will help you excel at! (Srsly though, it will!)
email, FB messenger, **or text message**. It has been A Day - apologies!Delete
We're already FB friends 😁 soooo I'll have to send you a message there and see if you can point me in the right direction!Delete
Oh and yes, I've only been lurking in the FB groups. Lots of.... Passionate people 😂Delete
WOOOO!!! I'm so happy to hear the good news :D :D :DReplyDelete
Haha see and I was fully expecting a few comments of "you're insane" -- I guess those people probably just rolled their eyes and closed out of the post without commenting 😋Delete
I've been wanting to try it too- not the long ones just the shorter ones. And you still have the Vaquero saddle? Hmm.....ReplyDelete
Yeah I really don't see 50/100s being an option for me (I don't know where I would ever find the time to do the necessary conditioning!) but 10s and possibly 25s are within reach I think!Delete
And yes, I still have that saddle, much to DH's annoyance 😂
Endurance!!!! That saddle looks so comfy. Seems like it would be a super fun sport to get into.ReplyDelete
Also, major boo for having a doma vaquera saddle that is just SITTING there. Lol
I really prefer the alta esquela or Portuguese bullfighting saddle because they are super comfortable. Hey. Maybe I could hit up an intro endurance race in one (when I can afford one anyway!). :)
Major props for pursuing something your horse enjoys and not trying to force her into something she may excel at but doesn't have a lot of interest in.
Haha I know my DV saddle is totally wasted here. I wanted an alta escuela but the DV was available at a good price used before I found a good used AE one, so I just went for it. Would still snap up an AE if I found a decent used one! :)Delete
And thanks! I've never been a fan of people forcing their horses to do things that make them miserable. Obviously there is plenty of room for interpretation because they're horses, they don't actually speak English... I don't necessarily think Ruby is so miserable with dressage that we'll never do it again, just that I want to explore options. She is definitely happier on the trail than she is anywhere else right now, so I'll give it the old college try.
Maybe she'll enjoy dressage more with something else to do. Like, I love the sandbox but without trail rides I would go crazy. Haha.Delete
I don't think there's many used AE saddles. I've resigned myself to needed to purchase a new one if I want one.
Yeah we definitely won't be leaving it entirely, just dabbling in something new for a bit!Delete
Nice AE saddle about half off retail on the Andy/Luso Marketplace right now ;) Ludomar even! If I had $800 of disposable income, it would be mine.... not in the cards right now though, haha. Maybe next year!
You can absolutely do it! Any healthy, sound horse who is in regular work (three times per week) can physically do an LD. It sounds like you have the spirit for it! You should definitely try it as it's VERY addictive. Come to the dark side! My *only* recommendation related to this post is: don't change your tack for your first ride. Whatever you normally ride that fits you and your horse is your best bet. You'll find that most endurance riders don't ride in "endurance" specific saddles (the Tucker saddle, for example, is my arch nemesis). In fact, I did 50's in my old close contact jumping saddle for years! I do hope you'll give endurance a try. Feel free to PM me on FB if you have questions or concerns. I look forward to your first Ride Story :-PReplyDelete
I've done 10 miles in my dressage saddle more than once, so I'm sure we could manage some intro rides in it. But as a tack ho, the idea of getting a whole new tack set up was appealing 😉 hahaha.Delete
And thank you!! I will probably take you up on the offer to let me pick your brain. I'm sure it's like every other discipline, every person has their own way of doing things, so I'll have to learn all I can and see what works for us!
Still thinking about you and DH and I don't know anything about endurance riding so I'm curious to hear what you guys get up to!ReplyDelete