Not Riding Today 

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Middle school. At least I’m smart enough to ask for guidance from those who’ve gone before me…

Today I had a phone call with my mentor… the question: what do I need to do to be sure K is ready for an early 50 in March this season?

Should I be considering an LD to start off our season?

What has her schedule has been like lately. 


Not a lot – she’s mostly on rest through the holidays… just some light rides. I’ve started to pick up a couple decent mileage rides (10-12miles) but it’s not easy right now. We have very little speed with the boot issues and footing in general.  

Any riding you’re doing there isn’t light work. I’ve seen your trails. 

I really believe in the power of rest. 

She’s been though two seasons now? And her first 50 last year?

Basically… this last season she completed 2 LDs (Leatherwood and No Frills) and 3 50s (Biltmore, OD and Iron Mountain)

Those are all serious 50s. The Biltmore has almost the same elevation as the OD but it sneaks up on you over time. It’s why so many lameness pulls happen there. They don’t realize how hard the horse has been working because the hills are so gradual. At least at OD you know when you’re climbing the mountain. 


This 50 in March should be an easy start for you. It’s pretty flat with friendly footing. 

Keep to a light schedule but get her out on a couple 20 mile rides. You aren’t trying to race or top 10 with her, she has a solid base from her first season and unlike humans horses will hold their fitness. 

The March ride is pretty flat- it will be good to find a flatter 20 [miles], and that time of year that area mud will be a challenge. I know you have rocks and hills, but can you train in some mud?

Yep. Mud. Check. 

Also a trace clip is your friend. You have no idea if it will be unseasonably warm or unseasonably cold. Just a clip under her neck and chest will help her cool if it’s hot but won’t be too much if it’s cold. 


The thing I hear a whole lot from experienced riders who tend to keep a good horse for many years: there is no substitute for rest. 

This is a good thing for me to hear. It means I don’t need to feel stressed and guilty because I’m not riding 5 days a week when work is busy. Worried because the weather and footing is prohibitive for speed and distance. 

So my goal is to take an ‘easy’ couple of rides each week and get three 20 mile rides in before February 25. 

And trust she’s good for it.