Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Long term goals

Six months ago, I was dreaming and scheming my way into horse ownership. I knew I wanted an Arabian and I had become increasingly more interested in the sport of endurance. I found a well suited horse and we got started. My goals were very short term. They had to be in order to accommodate the learning curve of a horse who was occasionally confused and frightened and reacted without thinking. Our goals were things like being able to pick up his feet for cleaning, helping him get over his fear of bathing, helping him accept walking over water and a tarp. Once our training began, it progressed quickly. It wasn't long before our goals became more 'riding' oriented. Bridling calmly, accepting a rider, and steering became our most important goals. Once these things happened readily, my goals have still shifted. Now my focus is on creating a balance between letting the horse enjoy our rides and teaching him the finer points of being a safe and reliable mount. We are working on his tendency to drift right and cantering now. Next, we will work on balance at the canter and leads. Hopefully we will also be working on longer periods of trotting. Sabumi is now to the level of other young horses I have ridden. He is now approached as a horse who has the capacity to learn, but just doesn't know a lot of things yet. Aside from 'push button' show horses I have ridden, Sabumi is just like many other horses. I will be working on things with him that many people work on with their horses every day.

All of this has lead me to think of my long term goals for the horse. First off, I really really want that trailer I've been talking about. The Calico 2 horse slant with a tack room. $4000 is a lot of money when you don't have job. My first goal would be to teach the horse to accept the trailer and know that it wont kill him to relax a little when we are driving to a destination.

If I were to get a trailer in the next few months, my second goal is to trailer him to various lakes and state parks within a 2 hour radius for training rides about once a week. There are a ton of horse trails in Oklahoma and many of them are 10 miles or longer. It would be great experience to trailer to different locations and ride varying distances. This would also be a good opportunity for John to get in his long runs on some nice trails. John likes to to at least one long run per week. Lately he has been doing 17 mile long runs to prepare for his annual Turkey day 20 miler. I can keep up with him for about 3 miles if he slows down, but that isn't much fun for him. I can keep up for about 6-8 miles on a bike. I really think it would be great to do a trail run together because I could pace him for as long as he could go, plus some!

My third goal is to participate in a few endurance rides over the 2009 season. I think that if we are doing weekly practice rides of at least 15- 20 miles, we will be in great shape to try a few 50 milers over the season. AERC (American Endurance Ride Conference) has a calander of rides posted for the following year. There aren't very many within a 5 hour drive. But there are about 15-20 rides within an 9 hour drive. This is why I think the training rides at nearby lakes will be do important.

My fourth goal is to compete in the 2010 Tevis Cup. The Tevis Cup is a 100 mile ride completed in 24 hours or less. It goes from Lake Tahoe to the Auburn, CA fairgrounds. In order to qualify, you must have 300 miles under your belt in rides at least 50 miles long. The Tevis is in August, so in the 2009 and early 2010 season I would need to complete six 50 mile races.

My fifth goal is a bit lofty. Once in a blue moon someone plans a Pony Express ride. There was one in the 70's, one in 2001, and one in the works for 2011. It is a 2000 mile ride over the course of 8 weeks. I'm not really sure how to describe the pull I have towards this ride. The link I put up is the personal account of Karen Chaton. I have read every line she has written on the ride and Can only hope that someday I am able to do this monumental ride. Essentially, you wake up before the sun, get the horse ready, and ride off. Your crew drives your rig to the next site and sets up camp. You finish the days ride of around 30-50 miles, take care of the horse, eat, get instructions for the next day, sleep, and repeat! I think that it sounds amazing. It is sponsered by the XP Rides group. They put on a series of long rides through the year. They have three 3 days rides and three 5 day rides. They are all held near southern California. Bakersfield, CA seems to be a sort of central location for them all. I hope to someday ride the XP rides, but it doesn't seem very likely we will be driving to California every 6-8 weeks for a ride!

Anyhow, my goals are something I think about often. It really excites me to think about being able to work together as a team with my horse to cover such distances. I have an incredible sense of pride in knowing we have already gotten far enough that these goal could even be a part of our future.

  • Trailer
  • Ride local trails
  • compete in 2009 season
  • ride 2010 Tevis
  • ride 2011 Pony Express ride

2 comments:

Potato said...

Heather, I have read your post and it is nice to see your plans are well thought out. You may be interested in a free download video I made a while back. It won't be available long so get it while it is still available. Also I suggest you join FaceBook there is alot of endurance stuff there. Potato www.4trailtips.com

Karen Chaton said...

Good luck with your goals, Heather! One of my first goals was to do the Tevis too, it took me three years but I finally got it done. By then of course, I was addicted!!!

It'd be great if you could make it to some XP rides too. The point to point rides are quite an adventure and always fun.