Aerc.org - Full Article
By Rusty Toth
There is great value in building a ride strategy; it can make the difference in successfully completing your first ride, achieving your first top ten or going for a win. To build a successful strategy one must first decide on a goal, say, a first 50, a fast 50, or a 100-mile ride. Then create a plan to attain that goal.
Build a program to strengthen yourself and your horse, keeping in mind the tactics required to achieve your particular goal. This will include conditioning at home, however will also most likely involve competitions, and the key here is to maintain your focus on your end goal and not get caught up in the particular ride at speeds or conditions you didn't plan for.Â
Creating a ride strategy begins months before the ride. Learn everything you can about the trail, examine the strengths and weaknesses your horse may have on the selected course and build a training program to enhance his advantages and strengthen his weaknesses. Knowing about the course is extremely beneficial. Training on flat ground at high speed, for example, would obviously not suit the needs of a mountainous competition.
The sage advice of riding vet check to vet check should always be followed. However, when creating tactics for a ride strategy, look at the big picture and have a plan that begins at the start line and ends at the finish line. (Actually, think beyond the finish line -- you want your horse to pass that final vet check with flying colors...)
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