Thursday, February 5, 2009

Endurance Questions - Odds and Ends

For this weenie, the temps have to be in the 30s + to ride or else very still wind, and so conditioning is put on a bit of a hold. Instead I've been working on the planning part. I've checked out the AERC handbook they have online (I think I may just break down and buy a membership) and they've got great info in there, but I'd love to hear what others do in practice! I've got some miscellaneous questions also.
  1. What all is included when it comes to determining weight division? Rider plus EVERYTHING your horse will wear/carry at the ride? Even water or horse treats and rider snacks you carry on the ride? Even the bridle and reins?
  2. Do you all clip your horses? By this I'm asking about bridlepath, chin hairs, pastern/fetlock hair, hair around the coronet band? Right now Arabee's hair-do is au naturel, and I like it - especially her full mane! The fetlock hair I could do without.....but clipping is a pain! (plus I'd have to re-re-purpose the clippers.....originally they were strictly for the horses, then as I got out of showing, I started cutting hubby's hair with them.....maybe he won't mind sharing again?!)
  3. Do you carry water for yourself on the trail? If so - how do you do it?
  4. What clothing do you wear on ride day?
  5. What all DO you carry on a ride? How do you carry it?

I'm trying to figure out what all I will actually need to have vs. what I will want to have on a ride. With the AERC convention trade show on 2/20 I hope to fill in most of what I don't have that I will need. Unfortunately the conservative, bare bones list I've already come up with is staggeringly expensive when I add up the estimated prices, not counting shipping or tax!!

I have a feeling I'll need different kinds of stuff for while on the trail, and stuff for vet checks. The handbook has a great list - but some of it is redundant it seems, so again it would be WONDERFUL if any of you are willing to share what you pack with you on rides, and what you pack for your crew! Thank you ahead of time :-)


Anonymous said...

1. Everything you listed counts as weight. It's everything on the horse during the ride plus yourself.
2.I don't clip my horses. It's not a show. Nobody cares if they are hairy. Also, the hair on their pasturns acts as mudflaps and it's bad to cut that. It can make scratches worse.
I do cut my horses bridle path though.
3. I used to think I needed it. But I never drink it on the trail. Only at holds. But that's a personal thing. You may want water on the trail. I use a "stowaway" pommel pack that has 2 waterbottle holders. The important thing here is to get one that doesn't bounce. One made specifically for endurance riding.
4. I wear breaches, half chaps, tanktop or long sleeve shirt and helmet.
5. The most important thing I take for myself is a spare easyboot. Also, you need a pocket or pouch for your riders card. And I usually take some haycubes for my horse. Again, this is all personaly preference. You may want to take more.

Boots and Saddles 4 Mel said...

1. Yep - weigh in with EVEYTHING. Out here in the west it doesn't come into play unless you top 10.

2. I don't clip. Even if it really really hot. It's a pain and there is some research that suggests that the body is more effiecient at sweating and cooling if they have a summer coat (something about how the hair deposits the sweat droplets or something). I also tend to be a minimlist...and clipping is just one more thing to do! I do braid manes. My horses are shed out ~March which is really when my season starts. I will say that the Standardbred gets WOOLY in the winter, but since she doesn't do any rides until March, it's OK. The arab was fine to do Death Valley in her winter coat, which isn't very heavy. This is getting long! answers to rest of the questions in the next comment

Boots and Saddles 4 Mel said...

3. I do carry water. In the beginning I carried a camel back. This worked well and I still use it for some conditioning rides. It does take some getting used to. After getting pommel and cantle bags (I have both, but don't use both at the same time usually.....) I have started carrying water in them. 2 bottles lasts me between vet checks. I do have to remind myself to drink more often though. Anytime I come down to a walk I try to take a drink. *****If you ride in the desert rides, I highly reccomend you carry water. You could be lost for a long time and there is NO water for you or the horse.
4. I wear tights, half chaps if not using a saddle cover, riding shoes (ariat terrains etc.) and bright colored shirt. I found that my pictures look better if I wear a shirt that is yellow, red, orange etc. Since I buy a picture from each ride, I may as well like the picture! I wear riding gloves and a helmet. I carry sunglasses with me. Depending on how cold it is I will wear a down vest of sweatshirt (that is 1/4 zip so I can get over my helmet while mounted).

5. Other items. GPS, ride card, map, sometimes a cellphone, most of the time a camera on a saddle pack that is easy to get to. I'm tyring to get better at taking pictures. It's a pain to take them, but I enjoy looking at them after the ride. Optional items (depnding on time of year etc.): electrolytes (I don't use them so these usually go in the crew bag), multitool/knife, bailing twine or zipties for emergency repairs, and apple or odwalla/cliff bar for me, sponge (attached to the saddle with a carbiner). All this stuff goes into a saddle bag.

I used to carry more, but I never used it so I put it in the crew bag. It also depends on how many vet checks. In a duck ride there is 1 vet check all day. I'll carry a bigger saddle bag, carry more water, and food. On the rides with 3-4 vet checks I carry most of the stuff in the crew bag.

Endurance Granny said...


It is my understanding that you weigh in with all your gear, but not your water bottles. If you are riding limited distance you won't likely be asked to weigh in unless you top ten, and stand for best condition. At least that is what some experienced people have told me, and I the LD I did I was never required to weigh in. If you join AERC you will weigh in yourself with gear to determine what weight division you will fall into.

On some of the equipment for a first time ride, I say improvise. I bought a cantle pack that was almost a hundred dollars...only to find that it was not really all that useful on a 30 mile ride. So now I have a fanny pack that the straps were cut, and clips added on, and it is just big enough for a hoof pick, a thin piece of rope, my ride card, and park pass. Water bottle holders run $9.99 and up. But if you go to the everything for a dollar store you can get them in colors for a dollar, and sew a good clip on. The place to invest if you are spending is in your saddle. That is your most crucial investment besides boots. Some of the women on the rides wear some nice duds, and others who are not any kind of slouch in their abilities, ride is simple tights, and oversized t-shirt for comfort. Your investment in this are should be directed toward your helmet, to protect you in the event of an unplanned dismount.

I don't carry food on a ride. I just eat a good breakfast. An energy bar is something I carry. You are moving along at a good clip, and not likely to stop. You can grab a bite during your hold time. Water, water, water, you better have plenty on board in case your horse comes up lame, and you find yourself on foot. 15 miles out on a park trail in the heat. I like to leave with three bottles (one of them frozen)on board, and I drink it as I go since I'm very prone to heat exhaustion.

My carry with me list: Water (frozen or half frozen when it is hot), small cantle bag, I have a multi-tool, hoof pick, thin rope (enough to tie up or replace a broken rein in a pinch), my crop is hanging on the saddle (for use only if she gets balky as we are in training), two water bottle holders, breast collar, front splint boots, bridle, sport reins. I have one pair of real deal riding tights, and usually wear cheapy walmart type for training rides. If it is really hot, I wear a tank top, not too hot...a t-shirt. Sturdy comfortable shoes are important, especially if you two point a lot, or get off and run along side your horse, or tail up a hill. My saddle, my pad. That is it. Sometimes even that seems like to darn much flopping around to make me happy. Oh! In summer I put a pack of bug repellent wipes in my cantle bag, so if the flies start in I can wipe her down on her rump and poll area. Most people like to carry a spare boot. ~E.G.

Endurance Granny said...

Oh! I forgot to comment on the clip the horse question. No, don't clip, and don't trim other than a bridle path. The fluffy hair on the pasterns help to protect that area from all kinds of minor nicks, scratches etc. The long eyelashes and facial hairs are your horse's defense mechanism to know they are too close to a branch, briar, or flying object. Horses do not see in the same way we do, so those long lovely eye lashes and facial whiskers have a function. The only clipping I do is a bridle path as I hate messing with the mane getting tangled up while bridling, and the long hairs under the jawline I will micro trim for a neater look (just personal preference). In warm weather I will braid the mane. Phebes has a very heavy mane and this allows the neck to cool more quickly. I just recently shortened Phebes tail to just above the pastern. She was picking up small branches on the trail and dragging them along behind which she didn't like, so I took out the scissors and made sure her tail was clearing the ground. ~E.G.

Boots and Saddles 4 Mel said...

I would definately have a reason for everything you carry or put on the horse. For example. On Farley I have a breast collar and hind boots on, but no crupper. On Minx there's a breast collar and a crupper, but no boots because she travels clear. Excess gear is likely to get me in trouble! Nosebands are something I don't use because I can't think of what their purpose is on the trail besides making it harder for them to eat and drink and their "traditional".

One more thing - I use the reins that clip on and off and use that as a leadrope so I don't have to carry a leadrope too. I HATE having a million things flopping off my saddle as I go down the trail.

I second the helmet and saddle thought. I love my helmet, so comfy. Stays on, doesn't bounce or fall down, light, cool and comfy. Usefull for knocking branches away while riding at speed :) With saddles, talk to as many people as you can. Ask people if you can borrow their saddle (I have a many in my tack room that I would lend if someone would ask).

BTW - I have a thorowgood dressage saddle (not the broad back unfortunately or I would see if you wanted to borrow) and really like it. I have to use a crupper with it for the standardbred because it pops over her shoulders going down hill. I also notice more chaffing issues with this saddle (on me), but that could be because I'm used to a Mcclellan with that horse which is hollow down the middle. It's a very secure saddle, light, and virutually maintenance free. Very reasonable too. Mine was under 200 dollars on e-bay including shipping.


Nicole said...

Thanks everyone for your comments! The jury's still out as to EXACTLY what I'll get, but your lists of what you carry and wear and use are really helpful.

You've given me lots of food for thought though - how crafty can I be? Can I make myself a stowaway/snugpax type pommel pack??? Do I have that kind of creativity/can my sewing machine handle it? would it actually be cheaper? hmmmmm...