A look at the numbers: Older endurance horses
|November 21, 2015||Posted by Melinda under Equine Endurance, Most Popular|
In the Oct Link Luv post I shared some data that Mike Maul posted on the AERC facebook page….now, instead of relying on your *squirrel-shiny-object-syndrome brains to go click on that link and then come back in some sort of orderly and reliable fashion (this is the modern age after all), I’ll just **reiterate everything here.
*Oh, maybe that’s just me? So says the bad blogger who felt the need to perfect a maple syrup and cinnamon roasted almond recipe prior to actually settling down and writing this post.
**As a side benefit I will have added several hundred words to this post and thus towards my “write a thousand words a day” resolution without having actually applied myself to my book that surely won’t write itself over in that corner.
Here’s what I had to say in October:
On the surface it looks like the mode has shifted “older” about 3 years – from around 8 years of age to around 11 years old. The mean (average) is probably even a couple years above those numbers, meaning that right now your “average” endurance horse is in its teens.
Over the years there has been some changes in the age requirements for horses starting various endurance distances which probably explains the drop off in 4 year olds competing.
As someone with a horse that’s staring late teens in the face and shows no signs of slowing down, I’m much more interested in the right hand side of the graph.
And here’s the thought I had that sent me down this rabbit (squirrel?) hole:
It’s still a fact that in both 2004 and 2014 a horse in its late teens and in its 20’s makes up a very small part of the population. Whether that is because most of these horses are started in the sport as the average horse as an 8-11 year old and that’s just a really long time to stay accident free and genetically lucky, or whether it represents a few folks brave enough to start their older horses in the sport and these horses are relative newcomers, I can’t tell from this data. It would be really interesting to look at each age group and see what their average number of previous seasons was.
Back to the present.
Mike very graciously ran a database query and sent me the data for all horses finishing rides in 2004 and 2014, their ages at that time, and how many seasons they had completed to date.
This rest of this post is now available in “Go Ride Far.”
“Go Ride Far” is a collection of revised and updated posts, as well as new content that focuses on what I wish I had known prior to my first endurance ride. (original release details here)
For the price of the fru-fru coffee ($3.99) the ebook covers:
- How to easily and intuitively back a trailer
- Take control of your conditioning and training
- Recognize and fix a “bonk”
- The never before told story of Dr. Mel’s first endurance ride
…and more from the running, riding, writing veterinarian and Singletrack Press!
Paperback versions ($9.99) are available from Amazon, or if you are in the US and want a signed copy directly from me ($10+$2 shipping) contact me at [email protected].
If you REALLY want a copy of this post and you are McDonald’s coffee broke (seriously, any size for a $1?) and fru-fru coffee is not in the budget, contact me at [email protected] with the title of this post and I’ll send you a pdf copy of the post/chapter. Please consider putting a dollar in my PayPal ([email protected]) or Venmo account, or donating through facebook messenger (facebook.com/drmelnewton) to help cover the cost of this site.
fascinating. with these numbers, Fiddle is rather ordinary…but it surely doesn’t feel that way from the saddle. Goal: decade team. So far: five years in the pocket, five years to go!
I know right??? (Average versus what it feels,like).
I’m at the same point at decade team. A couple years of all pulls, and a season or two of LDs only. I’m not sure we are going to make it……now I’m looking at a fifty when she’s 21 because of not getting one done this season :(.
It would also be interesting to look at seasons where a horse attempted a ride but didn’t complete due to pulls. Makes me wonder if there would be an age correlation and there are ore older horses starting the sport, but just not finishing rides.
Yay, I’ve been waiting for this post! Super interesting.
This makes me extra-appreciative of Confetti, who is solidly an outlier in the ‘started at 16’ category. And I’m still hoping to do several more years of mixed LD/50s before she deems herself retired. With a bit of luck she’ll be one of those horses in the 20-year category next year, and with another dash of luck we’ll get a 50 in.
This is such an interesting post – thanks for crunching the numbers for the rest of us! I hope to start riding LD with my mare late next year then move on to 50s, but we have some definite marks against us already. She’s 13-16 years old, and suffered a mild ligament injury last year. Time will tell, I suppose, if we will one day be one of those rare teams doing 50s+ in her 20s. All we can do is try.
Yep, statistics and patterns are interesting but they don’t tell the individuals story. Go for it!
I started my non-Arab at the age of 18 in LDs. We only participated in a few rides when my mare was 18, 19 and 20 as I was still raising children and could not participate in many overnight events.
I have been searching and searching for data on older horses. I thank you so much for posting this data.
Really interesting, and Major is certainly just average (12 years old, competing since 9).(Though not average to me!) I’d also love to see research about number of seasons competing and number of rides per season: horses with more miles keep going (old warriors) or more lightly used (less wear and tear)?
My friend started her horse in LDs at 19. He keeps up with Major even now, at 22 (for about the first 10 miles, then he slows a bit). He’s been a good high-mileage trail horse for years, so I’m sure that helped.
I am not concerned with Decade Team status. We might get there. But I’d rather end up with an older, happy trail horse at 18 or 20 than worry about competing. And there are so very many variables that can affect a ride season!