10 Best Endurance Tips
|August 30, 2016||Posted by Melinda under Uncategorized|
Ten years ago I brought home my first endurance horse and began to condition for endurance. Eight months later I did my first ride. In celebration of those 10 years I’m going to share my best-est 10 tips on being a better endurance rider.
1. Start with the horse you have. There’s a long ways between here and where you are going and even if you get a different horse to finish the journey, you’ll learn a lot and make a bunch of mistakes that maybe you won’t need to repeat next time.
2. Don’t be afraid to give up on a horse. Not every horse is cut to be an endurance horse.
3. Go ahead and throw your “never ever’s” out the window. Maybe you aren’t barefoot and treeless this year, but that doesn’t mean you won’t be so next year. Seriously. Been there, said those “nevers”, ate my words eventually.
4. There is no perfect anything – no perfect saddle, pad, boot. It’s “good enough” for now and be prepared to have to change it in a season or two.
5. Take lessons. Even if you know how to ride, or have taken lessons in the past.
6. Ride for time, not miles in conditioning
7. Don’t assume because you haven’t had a particular issue or a particular injury that you won’t. Ride enough miles and I can practically guarantee you endurance will keep throwing you weird sh*t.
8. The dirty little secret of endurance riding is that you don’t have to be in good shape or an athlete for your horse to do 50 or even 100 miles. Makes it a lot easier on both you if you are.
9. Stop overriding your horse. It’s better to come to the start line with a horse rested and uninjuried that is and than a tired fit horse.
10. Sound enough for endurance doesn’t necessarily mean 100% sound in all circumstances. The better I get at lameness, the more lameness I see. Horses are no longer sound or lame. It’s a matter of degrees. Sound at a trot in a straight line at a speed picked by the person on the lead line is a starting point. Whether you ask the horse to go 50-100 miles or even on a conditioning ride is a judgement call and one that hasn’t gotten easier over the years – I know more, but I see more. The two balance each other out.