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Monday, September 19, 2011

How Endurance will look different pt. 4

This is the end of my musings on how endurance is going to look different for Team Faubel.

Thank goodness.

There’s nothing like getting in the car for the morning commute and looking at the full moon and feeling a sudden impulse to whip through the pre-dawn streets without headlights to let you know that there’s been too much TALKING about endurance and not enough RIDING. 

Driving through the darkness in a little Corolla, with a fiendish look over my face as I hunch over the steering wheel, is the closest I’ll be to riding a 100 for quite some time.  Considering that “endurance” is currently ...30 minutes at a walk on good footing on level ground.  I admit that I did urge my fat lazy pony into a little western jog near the end of our ride the other day.  Evidently anything over a 0.000001mph trot is beyond her imagination at this point.  A year ago we were Tevis material.  Now, I’m explaining to passerby’s that yes, this IS an arab - even though her ears are too big, her eyes too soft, her head held too low, and her belly too fat.  Maybe it would be more believable to call her a Welsh Pony?  I don’t even try to explain that this is my Tevis pony.  THAT would be more than what any reasonable person would be expected to believe. 

Last year I had a Tevis Buckle.  This year I have “Perspective”, which could be defined as putting your itty-bitty puppy into the one-person tent, and after they stop richotetching around and lay down, realize that they may actually be getting they seem to be taking up quite a large proportion of the (very) limited foot print.

5.  Longer and slower conditioning rides.  Rarely did I do over 15 miles or so during a conditioning ride.  Occasionally I did a 20-23 mile ride a couple times a year.  Most of my mileage was made up in shorter rides more often.  Because I’ll be riding less days a week, I can ride more mileage when I do ride, and not feel like I’m taking my horse too close to the edge of “fit or broke”. The mileage I do will count and I’ll do one or 2 slow 30’s (or LD’s) before asking for a ride effort.  It’s shocking how little real conditioning I did for endurance rides.  I do believe that some of the biggest problems in endurance come from over conditioning and I was always conscious of how much time I was putting in the saddle - however, now I’ll be making that time count better.  She’s on pasture and doesn’t have to get out every day in order to keep moving. 

6.  Fair weather only.  I’m done doing rides in crappy weather just to prove how tough me and my horse are.  It’s not fun for me, it’s rarely fun for the horse, an it heightens the risk of injury for horse and rider to a level that’s unacceptable for me right now.  I have an IT band issue an an achilles injury that REALLY doesn’t like cold weather and Farley has issues with getting a bit tight in the hind end and it becomes difficult to manage in cold rainy weather.  I’m doing this sport because it’s FUN, and I want to take care of me and my horse so we are still doing this in 10 years.  There’s always another ride. 

7.  Chose rides carefully - stay away from the ones that have a reputation for being “too hard”.  There are a couple rides in my region that are extremely difficult.  One that makes no secret of that is the American River ride.  Truly, finishing the 50 at American River was harder than finishing any of my 100’s, including Tevis.  Yes it was beautiful, and yes, I feel like it was a significant accomplishment to just finish.  However, my overwhelming feeling after finishing was disgust.  Disgust that I had the guts to ask that much from my horse and put her at risk for a career ending injury.  I realize that every time we ask for an endurance effort we are asking a lot and accepting a level of risk, but in my opinion, there are some rides that are “over the top” and I still can’t look back at finishing American River without feeling foolish for it. 

8.  More time off more often.   There is an ‘oft spoken truth that you can either give the horse time off voluntarily, or you can wait and give that time off after they get injured.  Active rest is still an important part of the recovery process, however I will give Farley more prolonged blocks of time off - in terms of months rather than a week here and there - going forward.  It was hard to balance the need of rest and time off with not being able to keep her on pasture.  That’s one thing that’s nice about major life changes - sometimes it’s easier to make the other changes beyond the specific scope of a career change or location change!

And that concludes how my picture-perfect-next-endurance season is going to go.  30 minutes walking is awfully close to an endurance ride, right?  At least that’s what I’m told by trail riders who assure me that their horse is Tevis material since they’ve finished 30 minutes looking so “fresh”. 

IF everything goes well, I’m shooting for an LD during my spring break, if I can find a suitable one in the March/April time frame.  Farley is seeing a new farrier on today - the first time since I moved, and I admit I’m apprehensive.  I can’t be there during the trim so I’m having a sister stand in for me (a horsey one).  I just have to remember that if I get home and her feet look (*&*&%^&$&*)(* awful that they WILL grow back and she CAN go barefoot and I’m NOT totally incompetent when it comes to evaluating trims. 

A quick school update -

I passed my first midterm - barely.  The Rabies vaccination series made preparing for the exam difficult.  This first block is pass/fail so I’m not worried - if zero studying = a passing grade than I’ll be fine for the exams that I’m able to prepare for.  I’m loving school - I’m living, dreaming, breathing medicine and biology.  When I wake up suddenly, there’s always a thought of annoyed “where was I” because I was going through some physicological process.  Yes, I love animals and that is part of what makes a good veterinarian, however  I can’t imagine that my love of animals would get me through school.  If you are considering being a vet, I think it’s more important to love science, biology, and the process of medicine.


  1. Were you serious about the 30 minutes walking/Tevis ready? Because if you were, my quarter horse could kill Tevis. I am guessing, you were being facetious.

    I hear you on the loving biology. I seriously love biology. I was a biology major and actually enjoyed reading the text book. Now I teach biology for part of the year and I find myself getting all worked up about lichen and Euglena, although cell and molec was my absolute favorite. Of course, the course that every one else dreaded. That's kind of my style. ;) Probably yours too, I'm guessing.

  2. Oh yes! Absolutely facitious! LOL.

    I knew I wanted to do biology for a living when I studied for a subject test for the SAT II. I decided on biology and my cousin gave me her study book. It was full of ameobas and all that sort of stuff and I LOVED it. I read it for interest instead of studying! Prior to college I had only taken 1 biology class (freshman bio) so it's just been so much fun.

    Physio and pathology is my favorite :) embroyology was cool once I embraced that I couldn't just scoot through it based on prior knowledge. Must admit I'm not much of a mole cell biologist!

  3. Wow, you and I are on the same wavelength. Although I do competitive (with just a few LDs thrown in), I've come to the same conclusions as you have. To hell with the crappy weather. You didn't even mention that it isn't fun CAMPING in that kind of weather. Any chance of rain, I'm stayin' home. Ride has the reputation of being tough? I don't need that, my horse doesn't need that. I like testing myself and my horse, but not to the point where either one of us is not able to have fun while doing it. I don't feel I have anything to prove to the outside world.

    I'm scaling back, only doing rides I know we can handle in nice weather. It is hard to answer to my friends who are more hard-core than I am, but I am confident in my decisions!

  4. Oh, and one more. Not just the rainy weather, but I went on a few rides this year with 90 degree temps and 80% humidity. Most came through okay (including me and my horse), but quite a few riders or horses needed a bit of treatment. Not worth the risk, no more of that either.... Yep, I know there are "fair weather riders", I guess I'm now a "fair weather competitor."

  5. @anonymous - i hear you loud and clear!


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