Monday, January 29, 2024

Horsemanship Around the World: Exploration with the Argentinian Gauchos - Full Story

By Gillian Warner on Jan 26, 2024

As I stood on top of the cliff, overlooking the Gatorade blue water of Lago San Martín, it felt like my horse and I had truly found the end of the world. And it wasn’t far off, with Patagonia edging its way close to that title.

As my horse caught his breath, I took a moment to soak in the postcard beauty of the landscape before turning back to the terrain so intensely unique to the Andes to continue on our exploration.

Pursuing this trip wasn’t for the faint of heart, consisting of 15 hours of flying to get to Buenos Aires, another 3 hours to arrive in El Calafate, and then a 5 hour drive to the beautiful Estancia El Condor, where our ride began. While daunting, I was surrounded by a group of explorers who were well equipped to handle anything that came our way — adventurer extraordinaire Erik Cooper, Argentinian gauchos Andy and Morita, and a diverse group of incredibly capable and skilled horsemen and women from around the world as crazy as I am to pursue something this wild...

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Wednesday, January 24, 2024

From 0 to 160km: Training Horses for Endurance - Full Article

24 January 2024
Words by Stacey Stearns

Get your horse ready for long-distance competition...

Picture a ribbon of trail unfolding in front of your horse’s perked ears. You are rhythmically trotting down the trail, around the bend, and then cresting the next hill. This is Endurance riding, an equestrian discipline that covers long distances on trails while emphasizing horse welfare. Horses enjoy the trails and sport as much as the riders.

Endurance athletes have unparalleled bonds with their horses. Countless hours together in training and competition forge strong bonds. Years of work lead to that moment on the trail, and horses’ fitness and nutrition are carefully managed to achieve and maintain peak condition.

FEI offers multiple levels of Endurance competitions with distances ranging from 100km to 160km. A gradual qualification process over many years leads to each successive distance, helping the horse go from zero to 160km...

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Wednesday, January 17, 2024

The Hardy Horse: How Horses Handle Winter - Full Article

December 21, 2021
Posted by Heather Smith Thomas

From growing a thick winter coat to producing heat as they digest forage, here’s how horses are inherently designed to cope with cold weather.

How horses are inherently designed to cope with cold weather.

After a ride across the mountain to check my horses on winter pasture, the sun had set and the temperature was dropping toward zero. I didn’t want to leave my mare wet and chilling; she needed her coat dry and fluffy for it to be effective insulation. My fingers were stiff with cold, but I had to rub her sweaty long hair dry with towels and turn her out in her pen before I could go indoors and soak up the welcome heat of a wood stove.

Our horses handle winter much better than we do, and my ranch horses in Idaho have managed nicely outdoors, even at 40 below zero. They have several unique ways to stay comfortable in severe weather and do well if allowed to adapt to colder temperatures gradually.

Winter Hair Coat

As days get shorter and nights become cooler, horses grow a new, longer hair coat. These winter hairs stand up, trapping tiny air pockets between them. The effect is like that of a thick, down-filled comforter, with tremendous insulating quality...

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Tuesday, January 09, 2024

Ride of Passage Podcast

NPR Podcast Ride of Passage - Listen

From Michigan radio, it's a podcast about a true American adventure story about one young man's solo ride across the country on horseback.

Twenty years ago, a young man from Michigan set out to do something no one had done before. Matt Parker rode across the country on a horse. The horse was named Smokey, and the two of them used a system of trails known as the American Discovery Trail. That journey is the subject of the Michigan Radio podcast Ride Of Passage.

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Wednesday, January 03, 2024

The Best Next Step - Full Story

January 2 2024
by Tamara Baysinger

I think I’ve finally figured it out. How to approach 2024, I mean.

My usual proclivity for outcome-based goal-setting just didn’t sit right this New Year.

Get to 12 endurance rides, enter a 100 late in the season, blah blah blah.

Of course, I’d love to do those things…but I’d have loved to do them last year, and the year before that, and all the years going back to 2015, which was the last time it actually happened.

Interestingly, all these years of not getting far in endurance haven’t kept me from going places with the horses. I’ve trained and learned, hacked and explored, and it was pleasant. It was fun. It meant something.

Very slowly, as I learned to look past what should have been and rest in what is, it dawned on me that I enjoy those things, too — in and of themselves, completely disconnected from the endurance trail.

Perhaps I have finally arrived at a place where I can let go of endurance as the primary goal...

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