Monday, July 4, 2016

When I Started I Did Not Plan To Ride 1000 Miles In Six Months

Sometimes these things just creep up on you and before you know it--bam! you are caught up in it. I planned to ride 1000 miles in a year. Eventually I decided to keep the GPS on and go for it in half that time.

These rides were about 85 percent cantering, trotting or gaiting for the first four months. For the last two months they were much more than 95 percent cantering, trotting or gaiting. I rode 300 miles in the last 22 days.

My main horses were all Colonial Spanish Horses. Joey, a Choctaw, was my fastest ground coverer. Ta Sunka Witco a high percentage Choctaw was my most comfortable to ride at a lope (though his lope was much slower than Joey's trot). Holland, my Shackleford, gave me smooth gaited rides and sure footedness that I could always could on when riding through the woods. Twister, a Choctaw, improved with every 10 mile run.

I rode a few other Corollas but the horses listed above were pretty much the string that took me through this. Towards the end instead of running a horse from 7-8 am, I began to ride much earlier, generally around five am. Terry, my good friend and paralegal joined me for most of the 5:00 am rides. Of course she loved the ride but I think that she was also riding because she did not want me running a horse very hard alone in the woods so long before the sun rose.

A few odd notes on the effort:

1. I did not get a single saddle sore.
2. The girth's that Pam makes from mohair greatly out perform any of the other girths that I used.
3. Lost over ten pounds on the last 11 days of the ride--riding very hard, many hours in the saddle each day and low carbohydrate diet.
4. A conditioned horse can be counted on to move at speed for ten miles at a time.
5. #4 is only true if we are talking about a horse living in a natural horse care environment.
I can not make such a claim for horses trapped in lives of sugar, shoes and stables.
6. Every single horse, on every single ride carried more than the silly 20% weight carrying capacity myth that so many riders fall prey to.
7.   A bit of perspective on distance: Norfolk Virginia is 983 miles from Des Moines, Iowa and 1009 miles from Kansas City, Missouri  and 1012 miles from Havana, Cuba.

1000 miles in six months at age 56 while serving as Deputy prosecutor for Isle of Wight County and running our program, and being significantly over weight.

Take away point-- you are not too old, too busy, or too out of shape to get in the kind of hours in the saddle that you and your horse deserve.

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