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and down the driveway to their garage sale. At that point, I wasn’t in a mood to purchase the used halter they were offering us haha! OTHER RIDERS ON TRAIL One of the unique things about our sport is that all distances will run concurrently. That person that just passed you on trail might be a Team Canada rider or have 40,000+ miles in competition. How cool is that?! This does however pose a small threat to new riders and horses. First, be aware of what other distances are on trail that day. Is it just the other 12 milers? Or is there a FEI world qualifier running alongside you? FYI, that second one is probably not the best place for your first ride. Knowing what other rides are happening will give you an idea if any riders may be racing. Whether they are going for gold or not, common courtesy is for them to call out ahead that they are coming and ask if its ok to pass and at what gait. Let them know it’s your first ride and what you are comfortable with (this is where your green ribbon comes in handy too).

If your horse wants to run off after the other horse you can use it as an opportunity to school your dressage. Ask for lateral work, turn the horse around and ask him to back up on the trail, anything to engage his brain again. If you are nervous, you can get off and handwalk down the trail in most disciplines. This is why I always recommend distance riders to cross train with Dressage lessons! It’s nice to have buttons on trail. FIGURING OUT YOUR DISTANCE

You are going to get tired, and your poor brain is going to start asking

you questions like “are we there yet?” Being able to estimate your distance will also be a valuable tool as you start trying to improve your performance by balancing your speed with your horses recoveries (which is the founding principle of all competitive distance rides).

Sarah Cuthbertson on Secret Trails, owned by Emma Webb PC: Emma Webb

The easiest way is to carry a GPS sportswatch, but you don’t need this and those things are expensive! You can use running apps on your phone as well, but given it’s your first ride, you may have your hands full with an excited steed! The best way is a simple watch and homework. If you have mapped and tracked your training rides, you should have a good idea of the speed your horse walks and trots at and what your usual pace is. If you usually travel 4mph at home and you intend to do this at your first 12 mile ride, you can expect it will take you 3 hours plus any time holds in the middle. Some of the better marked trails will even give you a countdown… 5 miles to home… 4 miles to home… and so forth. Hopefully this quick guide will keep you on track for your first ride. Things will never go completely according to plan, but if you prepare with education and training you are off to a great start! @ESRR_SARAH @TEAM_EAT_SLEEP_RIDE_REPEAT EATSLEEPRIDEREPEAT.COM

Equestrian Ontario December 2017  
Equestrian Ontario December 2017