Endurance training/survival for you and your horse

Helpful info / Links

In the beginning… well about 20 years ago anyway, is when my whole endurance adventure began. I read an article that described riding long distances through various types of terrain and weather all under the watchful eye of ride management and veterinarians. I instantly thought “This is it! This is the sport I’ve been looking for!” Then the problem began of how to do this sport, how to get started etc. So I did the obvious, (this was before you could Google) I bought a book about endurance riding. I read it through a few times, adding post it stickers on the vet check pages which seemed to be the most intimidating and confusing part for me, found out where there was a ride near by and went. Since I rode my horse quite a bit anyway he was pretty fit and I felt we could do a limited distance ride so we signed up for the 25 miler. We went by ourselves not knowing anyone who did this rather mysterious sport. Back then there were not many large beautiful rigs so I fit right in with my old truck and 2 horse Miley.


The book info was helpful but reading about how to do something and actually doing it can be very different. At the start we did OK and enjoyed ourselves very much for the first 15 miles or so. That’s about the time I realized why everyone was wearing those “sissy tights” that I vowed I would never wear. The insides of my knees were getting pretty raw by then but I knew we needed to persevere, after all this sport was called “endurance”. I felt lost and clueless at the vet check, trying to desperately recall those pages with the post it stickers. We managed to fumble through by mimicking what others were doing. We were then directed on our way and I felt triumphant that we had survived that vet check thing and were now on our way back.


We had been riding quite awhile before we ran into another rider. She looked at my number and said “what are you doing here? You should have taken a different trail after the vet check, you are now almost to the second vet check on the 50 miler”. I was about to start crying when I reminded myself this was endurance and I needed to endure. When we reached the vet check (32 miles in now), I was told that there were 3 other 25’s that got pointed down the wrong trail and that we needed to wait there to get trailored back to camp. So now at least I’m not feeling quite so dumb, just cold now that it has started to rain…


After I got back to camp via trailer ride, I quickly took care of my horse and got him vetted (I’m starting to feel like I’m catching on to this vetting thing) as he  was shivering badly and I was naïve enough not to have brought a blanket with me. The only thing I could do was put him in the trailer and jump into the cab of my truck and try to warm up (I also did not bring a change of clothes for myself).


Regardless of several bumps in the road on my first ride I was hooked on endurance and wanted to learn to do the sport well. There is a vast amount of good information out there to draw from (I will try to link you to some as well). I will also share my own learned experiences from the last 20 years. Looking back, I truly wished that I had had someone to help me along on this first journey, a friend or a mentor or both. Which is one reason I have decided to start Riders-up, I hope you find it helpful and perhaps a little entertaining along the way.

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