From Endurance to Dressage
My perspective on this topic is slightly skewed since my view of how much and a lot of are formed by my years of endurance riding. It used to be that it wasn't worth saddling if I wasn't going to do at least five or six miles. And it was far more worth my time to do ten miles. In hours, that would mean an absolute minimum of 45 minutes with an hour and a half being a more worthwhile time frame. And this was for after work. A weekend ride had to be at least two and a half hours to count for anything. My endurance pals and I would joke that the ride had to be longer than the time it took for me to drive to the barn and saddle up. Otherwise, what was the value?
As a dressage rider, my view of how much and a lot has really changed. Now that summer is over, I am riding fewer horses each day, but I do ride nearly every day. Is that a lot? It feels like it since as an endurance rider I only rode two or three times a week: two short days of an hour or so each time, and one long day. An often used piece of advice for endurance horses is a day off for every 10 miles ridden.
While I now ride five to seven days a week, the ride might only last 15 minutes. I guess the joke is on me! A few days ago, I was at the barn for more than an hour and yet I only rode for 15 minutes! The rest of the time I spent grooming, saddling, mixing feed, cleaning stalls, and feeding. Why only fifteen minutes of riding? Well, all I needed from Sydney was some loose walking, and a few trot circles that were soft and elastic. He started out by being heavy, but after just a few 1, 2, Let Go's, he was ready to be soft and relaxed. Since he accomplished what I wanted, he was done.
So how much do I ride? A lot more frequently than as an endurance rider, but for far fewer hours! And interestingly? I feel like I am in much better riding shape now than I ever was as an endurance rider! Weird, but true!
10/2/2011 11:41:40 pm
Karen, might the difference be that in endurance, you were but a passenger, and in dressage, you are actually riding? :)
Cha Ching's Mom
10/3/2011 01:18:05 pm
Quality vs quantity!
10/5/2011 12:34:15 pm
Lori - maybe! I definitely feel more engaged.
I have been thinking about this post for over a week now. I never realised endurance riders didn't ride every day. I thought to get a horse that fit they did *lots* of riding *every* day, but I suppose that would wear the horse out.
10/18/2011 11:00:55 am
Kelly - endurance riding is quite a thrill, but it is honestly much more difficult than most people realize. Completing the course isn't the hard part. It's completing the course month after month, year after year on the same horse that is so difficult. It's takes an incredible amount of time to condition a horse, keep him conditioned, and then keep him and yourself healthy enough to compete.
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About the Writer and Rider
I am a lifelong rider.
I began endurance riding in 1996 where I ultimately completed five, one-day 100 mile races, the 200-mile Death Valley Encounter, and numerous other 50, 65, and 75 mile races. I began showing dressage in 2010.
Welcome to my dressage journey.
About Speedy G
Speedy went from endurance horse to dressage horse. After helping me earn a USDF Bronze medal in the summer of 2020, he is now semi-retired. Speedy is a 2004, 15'1 hand, purebred Arabian gelding. His Arabian Horse Registry name is G Ima Starr FA.
Izzy was started as a four-year old and then spent the next 18 months in pasture growing up. I bought him as a six-year old, and together, we are showing at the lower levels. He is a 2008, 16'3 hand warmblood gelding. His Rheinland Pfalz-saar International (RPSI) name is Imperioso.
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