Thursday, January 20, 2011

Endurance Horse Longevity - Karen Chaton - Full Article

I wanted to share this post from Mike Maul that was posted to the AERC members list. It has to do with longevity in endurance horses. A topic that is near and dear to my heart. When you ride a lot at some point you have the face the reality of what it is exactly you want to do. What do I want out of this? What does it all mean?

For me, it is more about the journey….taking the time to see the scenery and smell the roses. Versus the more immediate satisfaction of going out and winning a ride, or getting best condition. I’ve done it both ways. Nowadays everybody thinks I ride slow, and that is a fair assessment as I am now a pretty conservative rider. I have learned that if I go at a conservative speed well under 10 mph that my horses will stay sound.

It seems so simple. Only it’s not really. It takes a lot of determination to be able to constantly focus on rating a horse. It is so much easier to let them go a little faster than it is to reel them in and keep them steady. Why the 10 mph speed? That’s the magic number, it seems. When I keep my horses at 10 mph or slower while moving out they have few problems. Having fewer problems is important. It means that I have less vet bills because we aren’t trying to find and then fix a problem (most likely caused by riding faster). I also don’t have to sit out many rides because I’ve always or nearly always got a horse to ride. If I don’t go to a ride it’s usually due to other reasons but almost never horse related...

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