Thursday, October 4, 2012

training or fun (or both)

There have been a few bloggers lately who have hit an endurance wall. They or their horses are just not suited, or are tired of all the training, and just need a break or a different challenge. I admit that I'm not really an endurance rider. I've only done one LD and one 50. I don't put myself in that category. Or maybe it is that I'm not a fan of categories. I'm pretty sure I will always put more miles in just having basic rides out on the trails than serious training (though training can be fun too, if you're not burned out of it! And every ride is a training ride. I hear my old instructor's voice in my head for that comment.)

I think reading blogs sometimes make people a little stressed that "everyone" is training, or conditioning, or going on some big endurance ride or adventure. I write more about the big days than the basic ride-from-home trips too! I think more likely most riders are just enjoying their horses, whether that is competitively, or training, or playing around or "just" trail riding (which is not a "just" in my book). I think it is great whatever way you choose to enjoy your horse. Just get out and ride (or take horse for a walk, groom them up really nice, feed them too many carrots, watch them hang out in pasture, that's good too!).

I've just been going out and having fun, working on my "junk" miles. That is what some endurance riders call miles that aren't for training and conditioning. It is what I call just having fun. I still track them on GPS, it's now an addiction, and only takes a second to push the button, but I don't really care what my distance or speed was, just prefer to get home before it's too dark!

Some recent "unimportant" rides:

I went out and did a Major-in-charge bareback ride. I hopped on, just a halter (and a helmet!) and we started down the street. And wandered into a field he wanted to check out. And took a bite of some grass. Then wandered out into the forest, where I let him sniff every poo pile and blast up every hill. The only thing he was not allowed to do was jig home. Once that discussion was settled, we walked home. He was happy. I stayed on with a smile on my face.

An evening ride towards Rattlesnake, when we took a trail up a hill Major had wanted to go for a long time. I knew it just went up to some houses, but we checked it out anyway. At the top Major seemed a bit incredulous, "This is what I came all the way up here for? That sucks!" I laughed at him as we started back down.

"my" rock, by moonlight
I did another moonlight ride along the lakeshore, it was gorgeous. And the end of September was warmer than August, which was strange. Fewer horse-eating deer were on the trail (maybe because I kept yelling "Run away!" like Monty Python and the Holy Grail) and Major showed his good friend Friday that there was nothing to worry about.

Went along the lake with another friend, trotting along pretty quickly, both her horse Ziggy and Major being brats. Then her horse lost a boot. And we turned around to backtrack, and were suddenly riding perfect angels. Which pretty much even continued when we turned back around!

golden sunset view between sweaty ears
An evening jaunt to Granite Bay, staying on the upper trail, which I was totally bored of this winter, but now am a bit bored of the lake trails. Major and his buddy Friday were mostly well behaved, did lots of cantering and twisting trails. I'll let Major blast along in some sections, he's so good on his feet on the narrow, rocky singletrack, I can tell he is having fun!

Enjoy the smaller views: a super cool fungus!
I think this weekend I'll trailer out, it'll be an adventure, there will probably be pictures. I know first and foremost it will be fun. But not more fun than the small rides that make up most of my schedule.


  1. I agree about the fun and feeling like everyone else is doing awesome things always. I haven't even felt up to posting lately because I've just been goofing around with my horses. I think I should make a point of writing about that stuff, too, though. Thanks for this post,great read. =)

    1. Goofing around is great, with or without photos! I think writing about it helps others who are "stuck" in whatever rut, so write about your fun but "unimportant" adventures, I'm sure we'll all enjoy it!

  2. I've found that the most successful endurance riders are the ones who DON'T stress it. There is a such thing as over-conditioning, and I don't think there's a point in doing endurance if you're not going to enjoy yourself along the way.