Sunday, January 29, 2012

Seven weeks til the season starts!

I decided, when I ordered the clippers, that I had to shake off the January doldrums and seriously make and stick to a conditioning schedule. Dixie's about ready for a slow 30, but I'm shooting to get her fit for a 50 - either RoM or the Derby or High Desert, if they are putting it on this year. I busted out my awesome new horse calendar I got from a friend for Christmas and marked it up.

I'll do hills on Wednesdays - hopefully we'll progress to charging all the way over into the next valley and then turning around and climbing it again to head home. I've got two NEDA rides before ROM (February 12 and March 10) so those will be my long rides for those weekends. I've written down some other conditioning distances/days, but I'm somewhat flexible in the hopes of riding with some of my friends on the weekends. It's looking like 25-35 miles a week right now, in 3-4 days of riding.

Endurance buddies!

My everyday hill is 3 miles to the top and 800' of climb. That's a lot or not much at all, depending on your terrain - what's your go-to conditioning hill look like?

And while I'm asking questions: What's your first ride going to be? Do you have a conditioning schedule you're trying to stick to, and do you think mine's too ambitious or not nearly enough for a second-year horse? We endurance bloggers seem to range from "oh I ride whenever my friends ride" to "I have a spreadsheet and we ride the schedule unless there's more than 1" of ice on the roads."

I went ahead and filled out the rest of the calendar too.

I wrote in all the NEDA rides, even though I don't think I'll make it back to Reno for all of them. I really want to come back in August for the Frenchmans' Lake two-day ride - that was just a ton of fun last year. And there's a two-day NEDA in Austin, NV in October that I might make it to as well. Austin is the geographical center of Nevada, and it has the darkest skies in the nation so the stargazing is supposed to be superb. I'm not a very good stargazer (hello Orion! Dipper, where'd you go??) but I really enjoy looking at the stars, even if I don't have a clue what I'm looking at.

I also wrote in Reno area rides until July, and Bay Area rides from June to November. If I had two horses and an unlimited budget I couldn't hit ALL these rides, but I find it helps me to decide if I know what else is going on. I haven't really considered PS, and I don't have the scoop on what rides in Oregon are like totally worth the 8-10 hour drive dude! PNW friends, tell me what you love in OR (50s only this year please) and I'll add it to the Big Master List of Rides.


  1. I sure wish we had more endurance or LD rides in this area. This year there will be 2 CTRs only a 2 hour drive away but both during my son's football season so not likely I can get away since that is also my horse vacation time. There is a spring CTR about 4 hours away and falls on the same time as my annual mothers day ride which I host. Just not looking likely again this year, but you never know.

    All I do is ride to keep her conditioned. We don't have a lot of hills around here unless I trailer somewhere.

  2. Yeah, you'd have no problem at all doing an endurance LD or a CTR! It's a shame you don't have more near you.

    When we were in Ohio, G was interviewing with a place in Omaha at the same time he was talking to the place in Reno. I was thinking "there's like NO rides in Nebraska and a bazillion in Reno" - things could've turned out much differently if he'd gotten an offer in Omaha and not Reno. I don't think I'd dislike the plains states, but it'd be way different!

  3. "I ride when my friends ride" (no, not really). I ride 2 or 3 times per week in winter either solo or with friends, unless it's raining sideways, sn*wing, or the roads are a sheet of ice. 2 or 3 of those rides each month are an arena lesson. I don't worry too much about mileage yet (our first ride is end of March), just want to keep limber and happy and work on some behavioral issues more than fitness issues.

    Mid-February, I'll start amping up speed and milage (weather permitting--I'm not going to kill myself or my horse to get miles if the terrain will lame us for months!). So...15-20 miles per week mid-February, and maybe 30-ish miles per week in March? The first ride of our season is easier terrain than our training ground, so 30 miles in training is plenty of prep for 50 miles in Washtucna.

    Oregon rides:
    6/16 Sunriver: can be hot, can be dry. Not as strenuous as many of our regional rides, but it is held in a sno-park...i.e. on a mountain. Lots of gradual elevation changes all day. Sandy footing.

    7/14 Bandit Springs (2-day ride). Can be hot + humid. BEAUTIFUL ride (I want to do it this year!!), gradual elevation changes, tons of grass on trail. Bring camera. Possibility of wild horses on course, not always friendly.

    8/11 Santiam-Cascade: another ride held in a sno-park. Elevation changes, hot, dry, pretty. Close to perfect ride management.

    8/25 Pacific Crest: sno-park again. Lots of elevation changes, dry, pretty. I haven't ridden this for years, too far away for me now.

    10/13 Limestone Challenge: one of the two hardest rides in our region. Dry, rocky, tough, steep terrain. Excellent training grounds for Tevis.

    10/20 Foothills: pretty far north for you, but I will probably attend this one. Beautiful ride *IF* it doesn't rain. If it rains, hunker down or stay home. Rocks, some elevation changes, great ride management.

  4. And you WOULD be the highly successful "I ride when my friends ride" person I was thinking of! Very jealous of your FC buddies ;)

    HOTR is two weeks after ROM, so you've got a bit more time than me. I'm overscheduling my training rides so I won't actually mess things up if it's snowing or I just have to got to finish a project instead of riding that day. Just a little of margin of error. And there's a 20 mile NEDA the weekend before ROM - on purpose, since about half the NEDA riders are also AERC riders.

    I've heard Sunriver is a great first 100. Gonna stick your recommendations on the big calendar - looks like they're 6-10 hours from the Bay (google maps car estimates, of course). Thanks!

  5. What are hills? We have a slope of a levee to a road that goes across the lake dam we go up and down. Our elevation varies between 800' and about 1100, maybe 1200' on our local trails. A friend and I have both used these trails to condition, and finish Tevis.

    We had our first NATRC ride in December, and my next one is March. I prefer NATRC to AERC in our region just due to the locations of most. And, I admit, I like to chase year end awards thru them.

    I have an entry in to Tevis again. My conditioning for it is to try to get to 1 - 50, or 1 - Open NATRC ride per month leading up to it. Sometimes more. I also try to get to a trail system in Oklahoma that has some technical terrain at least a couple times between now and then.

    Since Hank is a seasoned horse, I have no particular weekly or monthly program. I ride when I can, and it will vary between quick rides, to longer rides of maybe 15 to 20 miles. Sometimes alone, sometimes with a friend.

    Most important is to not forget the rest for the horse between

  6. Jonni - I'm so impressed that Hank can do Tevis from Texas! He gives me hope :)

    I gotta admit, I really want a NEDA year-end award. I think if I can complete half the rides I'll have enough miles to get in the top 20 and get a fleece or something. I don't think I'll ever be in the points for AERC West - too many big names out here doing all the pioneers or racing. I don't begrudge them in the least, but it makes getting points kinda futile.

  7. A 3 mile hill? Cool? It is flat as a pancake around our barn. We have a couple of short inclines - maybe 50-100', but no real hills. Not sure if my endurance friend has had any problems by not conditioning on hills...can't really remember her saying anything. Most of the rides around here would be more flat than anything...

    Hope you can get all of those rides in - sounds like fun to have some many close (ish?) by...

  8. I don't have anything meaningful to contribute to the conversation, but I wanted to wish you and Dixie lots of luck and I can't wait to hear about all the rides! :)

  9. wow... it's all I can say. I can't even bring myself to commit to a show in February, let along plan my entire sumer competitive riding schedule.

    Good for you!

  10. Laura, there are ways to train for hills without riding hills - but it's easiest if you can do the real thing! Dixie is not a natural uphill horse* so the more I can push her to work it up hills, the better off we will be on all terrain.

    *Not conformation, but ease of going - she's very much a downhill horse and just roars down gentle slopes.

    Thanks, i2p! :D

    Jeni - hahaha send in your entry already! I love hearing about other people's arena stuff. If only I had a personal groomer to scrub my horse and do her mane up...

  11. My go to conditioning 'hill' is usually the Jake/Bull Mountain trails or the red loop in Dawson Forest. I've tracked elevation gain on neither but Jake/Bull has a long slow up and then down a mountain over 13-24 miles depending on which trails you take, Dawson has a lot of up/downs and is really twisty turny but is only 6-15 miles per loop. Rose is a uphill horse and can take on going up and going flat well but either pokes or rushes down hills. Our usual training schedule is basically "how much time do I have?" and then figuring out which trail system to go to and which loops. I try to get one +15 mile ride in a week and recently have been inching that up to 1-2 20 mile rides per week. I try to put in one round pen lesson every two weeks. Our next ride is Blazing Saddles which should be a lot flatter than our normal terrain so hopefully we can complete our first 50 there.

  12. OK - you are moving to the bay area :). Trying to catch up on the blog is like a treasure hunt.

    I've done a ton of bay area rides and can give you some hints there too. Would LOVE to carpool (trailer pool?) to an oregan ride......


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