Long distance ridingRSS feed

Posted: Sunday 21 March, 2004

by Rosemary at 6:28pm in Equines 1 comment Add your own

I have been seeking an activity to undertake with Smokey. He's too big to show, even if I wanted to, and neither of us are that keen on jumping. After some thought, and a recommendation from our vet, we are planning to start long distance or endurance riding. Our vet described this as "hacking with style".

The sport is run in Scotland by the Scottish Endurance Riding Club (SERC), through a number of branches. We're kind of in the area of Glasgow, Lothians and Tayside, but I think we'll go for Tayside.

Most club events have three categories of event - pleasure ride, which non-competitive and where most people start, training rides and competitive rides. Top events can be up to 120 miles over three days. We're looking at starting with a 10-14 mile pleasure ride. Except at the highest level, rides are not against the clock - they are set speed rides. The rider decides what speed they will cover the 20 mile, say, route at. This will be maybe 6 - 6.99 mph or 7-7.99 mph. The object is then to do that, arriving at the finish with your horse's heart rate at 64 beats per minute ie without your horse being thrashed to death. The condition of the horse is always paramount and there are always vets and farriers at events to make sure that the horses are well looked after.

So, on Sunday (Mother's Day), Dan and I popped up to Scone to have a look at an event there. There were horses (and riders) of all shapes and sizes. The favoured breed for the serious competitor is the Arab or part bred Arab, but there was a smattering of Highlands and Highland types. In fact, a half sister of Smokey (by Monarch of Millfield) was competing.

It seemed pretty good although Dan's a bit concerned about my ability to follow directions (!). He suggested I identify someone else doing the same route and just follow them. Alternatively, he offered to accompany me on his mountain bike. This is the man that lost himself and his brother (some time ago, I admit) while hillwalking BECAUSE HE HAD THE MAP UPSIDE DOWN!

Anyway, I now need a fitness programme for me and the Smokey boy. Every night that I'm doing him, we'll be riding out. Up and down hill, where possible, to build up stamina. It'll be good to see him get fit (and me).

Our target is an event on 27th June at Devilla Forest, which is a few miles away. As usual, I'll keep you posted...



Tuesday 23 March, 2004 at 9:15am

It was raining very heavily and a bit foggy, plus I was tired. And, and, and, I was just rotating the map for a second to gain a new perspective on our situation. Pah.

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