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Friday, March 12, 2010

Back to Work - Addendum

So frusterating not to be able to edit posts once I post them!  (Silly firewalls....)
Obviously I wish I was able to keep Farley in a different situation - a nice pasture with varied terrain where she munched on grass all day and had a buddy or two to play with.  One day I will have this but in the meantime...
...there's another way to look at my current situation.
Making the best out of a not-ideal situation
When I started endurance with a Standardbred, I was starting off not "ideally".  It was HARD.  In fact, it was harder to get my standardbred through a 50 miler, than it was to get Farley through a 100 miler. 
I failed a LOT my first year.  I FINALLY managed to finish some rides my second year. 
BUT, I learned a LOT.  I *know* how to get a horse through a ride.  I *know* how important it is to ride my own ride and all the little things that make a difference, because on the standardbred, the line between a finish and a pull was very very very fine.  I had to do a lot of things right and the margin of error was very small. 
Sucessfully bringing a horse through 100 miles and having it recover well, and finish another one within my current horse-management situation is similar to starting endurance on a non-arab who isn't particular suited to the sport. 
I have to do a lot of things right.  I have a very small margin for error.  I have to read and listen and make good decisions or I'm not going to be successful.
When I first started endurance, I used to take advice at face value because it sounded good and it was the "sport standard".  After I failed miserably, even after following all this good advice I learned to ask questions.  "Why?"  I soon realized that much of the good advice wouldn't work for me because so many factors between their system and mine where different.  Because I can't change my current situation (except to completely get out of horses), I had to work through the "why" questions, get to the root of the good advice and decide how I could apply it.
Let's take the (very good, often given) advice to give 100 miler horses 4 weeks off after a ride.
So that they can gradually heal those unseen injuries and minimize the wear and tear on their bodies.
So that mentally they don't get burned out
So they get a vacation to play and just be a horse.
So then I evaluate each reason and ask myself "how can I give my horse the same thing in the situation I have her in?"  In this case, I've decided that getting her out and working her lightly gets my closer to the reasons behind the advice, then to blindly leave her in her pen for 4 weeks. 
Make sense?  There's lots and lots of examples of how I've had to modify "traditional" endurance advice so that it works for me right now, this is just one.
I'm looking forward to the day when I'm able to move and complete my career change and give Farley the more "ideal" life that she deserves.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like you are on track. We used to have horses in the same living conditions you have. Maybe less idea. They had 12x24 covered corrals. When we came back from a ride, the worse thing we could do was to leave them locked in for weeks". I think the best thing we can do it get them out to move around, even on an easy walk around the neighborhood. We'd try to get them out a few days after a ride, just to stretch their legs. While I don't normally compare what I do with myself, to the horse, if we come home from an event that we have stressed our muscles, don't we feel better if we get out and walk and move about, rather than just sit around?

    Now, we have pasture, so after a ride, I turn them out, which they take off full tilt, bucking, playing, even after Tevis, and the 1600 mile trailer ride home.

    Shall we talk about horses who do back to back 50's for 5 days in a row? lol Or, even more on the long cross country XP rides.

    You know your girl, and sounds like you are doing things right!


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