|Sinatra & I at the Washoe Valley Ride 2006 - our first two day 50|
Endurance Granny posted some questions on her blog, and I thought I'd take them time to answer them here:
How is riding back to back LD's different than riding a 50 as far as the stress on the horse? I know that sometimes people start their horses on 50's and never do the LD thing so the horse learns that they don't quit at 25 miles, learns to appreciate eating and drinking. So how is having a horse do two 25's over a weekend harder than doing 50 in a day. I'm actually weighing what I want to do as far as LD vs. Endurance. So is a 2 day slow 25 any worse than just starting out on 50 in the first place? The same?
Personally, I've found the two-day rides to be a good indicator of if my horse is ready to move up to that distance for a single day. For example, I completed a two-day 25/25 before trying my and my horse's first 50, and a two-day 50/50 before trying our first 100. How my horse performed at the end of the second day was a good indicator to me if he was ready for the longer distance at once.
As far as which is easier/harder for the horse, I think that doing the distance in one day is harder, simply because they do not have the evening in between to recover. As a new RIDER starting out in the sport, doing the two-day rides gave me the confidence in our ability to complete the distance. With my second horse, and more miles under my own personal belt, I felt less of a need to start with the shorter distances and/or back-to-back rides. I now knew what it took to 1) condition my horse for the distance, 2) how to pace to finish the ride, and 3) what type of attitude/feel/conditioning to look for at the completion of our shorter rides, to be able to gauge how ready he was for the longer ones. Even those horses that are starting in 50's officially, have generally already had at least LD-distance training rides.
How is your preparation different for a 50 (compared to an LD) as far as your weekly mileage and LSD in initially legging up a green horse?
I want my horse to be able to comfortably and easily be able to complete at least half of the goal distance before I move them up. That means in order to finish a LD, I would expect my horse to be able to handle at least a 15-mile training ride. I don't expect them to be pulling-on-the-reins fresh when they finish, but rather to still have plenty of forward impulsion when asked and be EDPP (eating, drinking, peeing, pooping) well and bright-eyed and alert. For a 50, I would expect my horse to be able to complete 25-miles feeling the same. Personally, I would rather get in one good LONG ride per week, than several shorter ones. I'm often pretty strapped for free-time, and quite often only ride once or twice a week. My horses have been able to be successful with this schedule of being ridden long when we go out (see distance recommendations above) and being ridden conservatively at the actual rides. If you only have 4 hours a week to ride, better to cobble that together into one single session, than 4 shorter ones. I wouldn't ride more miles than my goal distance per week, and would make shorter rides faster and hard to maximize the training benefit. Personally, I feel that many/most newbie's horses are over-ridden rather than under-conditioned. Rest can be just as, or more, important than the training.
I did a post about low mileage training a bit ago, you can find it here: Low Mileage Training
**Posting and/or updating posts here on occassion with a picture so I can add to my Endurance - The Ride of a Lifetime Pinterest board, which is where I'm also compiling some Endurance 101 Clinic ideas. Original article source will be linked when applicable.