Remember when I told you that I did "accidental" intervals on Farley and that's how we train for endurance now?
Today's ride was the perfect example and because I rode with my phone, I'm able to show you what I'm talking about.
Today I didn't go out with the intention of doing intervals - I decided to do our "short loop" and we warmed up to our regular spot, did some trotting, walked up the levee embankment and down the other side. Then took off a little faster and she's been giving me a lovely canter lately so off we went chasing the white dog down the trail. We rounded the corner and took off a little faster and I let Farley edge out the little white dog (usually the rule is that Tess gets to run in front and "win") and then it was back to a walk to navigate a bit of technical rock/gravel/hill stuff. And then it's a straight shot towards home through a wide dirt orchard path and we went faster and faster and FASTER until I was going as fast as I've EVER let her go, but she was being good and Tess, although not in front in any more, was TOTALLY game and keeping up on our heels - and we were going so fast that I was trying to decide whether I should let Farley REALLY go - no time like the present right? - .....or should I come to my senses and stop going hell bent for home in jeans, crocs, and dressage length (long) stirrups?
And then a tractor pulled out in front of me on the orchard road and after slowing to a trot to pass the moment of insanity had passed and we went home at a more sedate pace.
And voila! What shows up on my pace chart looks remarkably like an interval workout. Periods of faster work interspersed with really slow speed recoveries. 99% of my rides look like this - and I'll do any where from 3-15 miles at a time. Sometimes I go really fast, sometimes I go really slow, and sometimes I'll do longer stretches of something in between. Very very rarely will a keep a consistent pace through an entire ride. I feel like this mimics endurance rides too. Often on a technical ride I'm making time where the footing is good, and then walking through the really steep stuff, or the crappy footing. Sure, during a real ride I do much longer stretches of that 9-10 mph trot, but what I'm doing in training seems to prepare my horse just fine - and changing up the paces and speed during training keeps the conditioning rides fun for me and my horse.
This is what a dog looks like after she's raced an arab and lost:
After putting Farley up I couldn't find Tess....until I looked in my tack room. She had crawled in and snuggled into the cushy bale bag. Unfortunatley she got up before I could take the picture :(.
She is currently zonked out in her kennel and I can only hope this means I don't have to deal with "bored puppy syndrome" tonight. :)
Welcome to the Boots and Saddles blog. "Boots and saddles" describes a horse of(f) course - my experiences in the endurance world, as a veterinary student, and as a life long student of the horse. This blog is part of a larger endurance information site, which promotes renegade hoof boots and education for riders in their first 1000 endurance miles. I hope that you are entertained, informed, and inspired.
Funder: I swear, endurance is the sport of tying as much random crap on a dirty horse as possible, then riding til you chafe your thighs raw.
Elizabeth Funderburk: You're not tough just because you can destroy your body faster than everybody else around you. That is a ridiculously difficult thing for me to remember...You can be plenty tough without being dumb...
Bethany Faubel: Funder's right: being tough doesn't mean being damaged before you have a chance at senility. Otherwise, we would be calling all professional boxer/wrestlers not only tough but intelligent as well...
"Endurance is a series of small disasters, interspersed with larger disasters. The sport of endurance is your ability to solve and learn and prevent them. (and enjoy the process)"
AareneX on 2010 Goals:
"I will not be discouraged by setbacks in 2010, but will use them as training opportunities for successes in the future."
JB on Revelation 7 "More then just bruised ego's are at stake in endurance, as the horses whole life and well being is on the line".