Today is the 7th of April, on a Wednesday. My first shot at an LD this season is one week from Friday. Wow! So close!
If I'm going to attend this ride in April, it's Friday or no day at all - I want the advantage of far fewer riders on the trail for our first competition mileage, and there are family events the other two days as well that makes Friday the better (only) option. The only problem with entering for Friday's LD is that it's 30 miles instead of 25.
But....how to determine if I'm ready?
I've been riding Arabee at least 2, usually 3 times per week for quite some time now. Lately the rides have been in the 2 hour range, trotting at least 50% of the time. I've hauled out to the ride location 2 times now to train on similar trails that we'd be competing on. She's always come in with plenty of energy left, even though I thought she was getting tired while out on the trail. Our longest training ride was between 14 and 15 miles. My horse is (generally) smart and good at traveling.
However, I'm pretty sure none of my training rides have been faster than 4-5 mph pace. That would not complete a 30 mile LD without going overtime. BUT...none of my training rides have been "serious-let's-get-down-the-trail-and-GO" rides, either. Always spending (wasting?) a lot of time at water holes and focusing on training opportunities. Which is fine for training rides, maybe, but won't do for competition, since I want to finish (is to win)!
So here's the plan. Ride w/ Jacke 12 miles in 2 hours or less this weekend. If that is accomplished, we'll be headed down to Chicken Chase, horse included! But if we do it in even 2 hours and 1 minute, I'll see if I can crew, or scribe, or check pulse or something and leave Arabee at home.
To me, if I can't do at least 6mph for 12 miles, I have no hope of doing at least 6mph with Monster Hills for THIRTY miles. Which to me would indicate that more training/conditioning time is needed....and we'll wait for the next ride at the end of May for our LD debut.
Because...I've decided if I'm not confident that we can finish the ride, and enter anyway to try and see, that I won't be happy at all with the results if we end up having to pull at the check and hold. It would leave a bad feeling about the whole endurance thing for me and my horse. So I'll wait until I know for sure we can make it (barring any unseen complications) before we give it a first try.
I am so excited to finally get some miles on the record. Can't wait. I have plans all set up for this ride in less than 2 weeks! BUT....if it isn't the right time for it I won't push it. Got to wait for the right timing.