Saturday, November 30, 2013

You Are Ready For Your First Ride - Trust Me! - Patti Stedman - Full Story

By Patti Stedman | November 29th, 2013

It concerns me sometimes that we’ve made success in our sport seem like some unattainable thing, requiring hours and hours of ceaseless daily conditioning over mountains at a gallop with a heart rate monitor and reverse splits and seven gazillion supplements.

It’s just not that complicated.

You take:

• One sound horse (this is a deal breaker — our veterinarian judges will not let you start a ride with a horse with a “hitch in his giddyup”)
• Saddle and tack and clothes that fit both you and the horse well (doesn’t have to be fancy or endurance tack – whatever works!)
• Some time to do some “legging up” of your horse, some short rides, some longer rides, so that you and the horse can happily do a 15 or so mile ride a few weekends before the competition in about 2 and a half hours and both feel pretty happy and comfortable at the end (no swollen legs, no hang dog look, no sore back)
• A little effort to TRAIN your horse so that it can pass and be passed on the trail, be around other horses on the same trail without going totally bananas, stop without being run into a tree, able to deal with reasonable trail obstacles safely, to eat and drink and rest when he is given an opportunity to do so, and to pace at the pace that YOU would like to go (since he’s a herd animal and will likely try to run as fast as the rest of the escaping herd unless you TRAIN him that you pick the pace and he won’t die as a result),
• Practice time learning to camp safely, and
• Getting familiar with AERC rules, which can be found, along with a plethora of other “getting started” information at

Them’s the basics. Let’s Keep It Simple, Silly, shall we?...

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