A Look at Competitive Trail Riding

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Links

Since I am having a hard time creating links on the side on my blog I figured that I would create a post about it. Here are some links to other distance riding programs:
http://www.umecra.org
http://www.distanceriding.com
http://www.ectra.org
http://www.gldra.com
http://www.natrc.org
http://www.tadra.org
It is also important that you have the proper riding equipment so that your horse doesn't get sores or rub. Here are tack suppliers websites:
http://www.endurance.net/runningbear
http://www.trailandpleasure.com
http://www.sportack.com
http://www.trailrite.com
http://www.longridersgear.com
http://www.chicksaddlery.com
http://www.bigdweb.com
http://www.unitedvetequine.com
http://www.kvvet.com
http://www.americanlivestock.com
http://buytack.com/products/endur/endur.htm
Here are a few other distance riders websites that I found:
http://adventurehoss.tripod.com/homepage/index.html
http://moosewood.tripod.com/trail.html
http://www.dfwnetmall.com/cybersports/trailride.htm

Awards

I know that I wanted to tell you about the rides as they happen but I can’t because it is winter and not riding season. There is however an awards banquet coming up for the club that I’m in. Sometime in January I will receive information on the time and place it will be held and it will tell me the results of the year. Most of the year-end awards are based on placings at rides throughout the year, where you receive points that add up toward a certain award. And if you didn’t do well that year you will always accumulate miles toward mileage awards. You can see the criteria for these awards at http://oaats.org/rules.htm And I will let you know what I will receive at this years awards when I find out.

Rides

I have attended many rides since I started riding competitively about 7 years ago. I go to the same ones every year because I like them and because I know most of the people that go to them. Every once and a while I will go to a different one just to see what it’s like and try something different because the horses start remembering the trail and want something new too. It is not hard to find competitive trail rides around the country but it is hard to go to all of them. If your horse is in the fittest condition you can compete about every other week but as an athlete you wouldn’t want to work that much for the whole summer, so just keep in mind that you horse will need some time off once and a while. Here’s a link to the rides that I go to because they are sponsored by my club and I receive points and mileage that count towards year end awards. http://oaats.org ( then click on events)

Star

I was so excited that I got to see Star and Bleu this weekend when I went home for Thanksgiving break. Speaking of Star, I haven’t told you about him yet. Well, since there were three of us and only two horses we were on the look out for another. Through word of mouth, we heard that a man was selling a beautiful chestnut Arabian gelding, so we went to check him out. He was 4 years-old at the time and he fell in love with me immediately because he liked my arm up and down the whole time we where there. He had a lot of ground training and it was amazing what he would do for you under saddle in the ring but on the trail was another story. We figured that he was worth it so we took him home. He was meant to be my dad’s horse but that quickly changed when my dad fell off before he even got on. So Star became my horse and he has been mine even since. Especially since Ashley had a freak accident in the pasture where she fell and broke her leg and had to be put down. And then there were two again, Star is 10 years-old now and Bleu is 20. They are just relaxing over the winter getting fat and hairy and all the treats I can give them when I visit. To learn more about the Arabian breed you can go to http://www.iaha.com

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Training and Things to bring

As you become more experienced you will realize what you need to bring to the rides and what you always thought you might need just in case, here is a link to a good list to start with http://oaats.org/newbie.htm. This site has a good starting list of things you might need to bring and it also has information on training your horse. This is a thing that again when you become more experienced you will know how much training your horse needs and how fit he is at any given time. Check it out, it is the club that I belong to and everyone is very helpful if you have any questions. I also found another page that lists a good conditioning schedule, you might want to check it out to.http://www.octra.on.ca/articles/parameters.html

The day of

Hopefully you get a lot of sleep and you are ready to wake up bright and early at 5 am to get the horses fed. You feed them this early to allow them time to eat and time for them to start digesting it, so they don’t colic. Colicing is when the digestion is started and when thing aren’t moving through the horse gets sick. While they are eating you try to find the coffee and have some breakfast. The first horse is normally out at 7am so you need to get ready soon. First thing that I do after they are done eating is take them for a walk to warm up their muscles and then start tacking up. You need to make sure that all the tack is put of properly so that they don’t get a rub or sore. When you are tacked up you put your helmet on, get on and start walking around camp to warm then up so that they don’t cramp up when you start to go. Every horse was assigned a number when you registered and that number is then put on your horse with a marker so that ride management can keep track of you and your horse. You will leave camp according to you number, normally the horses go out in 1 minute intervals and your time starts when you leave. You need to plan to be at the half-way vet-check by at least half of your time window to insure that you will have time to get back to camp and not get any time penalties, a good trot is needed to ensure that you have enough time. When you get to half-way you will get a card that says the time that you arrived at the check and you have 10 minutes from then to get your horses pulse to 44 or under. On warm to hot days you should put as much water as you can on in the time you have, but on cool days you only need to put a little or even none at all. When there is about 3 minutes left you need to go to the pulse area and try to get your horse relaxed. When your time is ready let the pulsers know so that you can get your pulse done at time. If you think that your pulse to high you can ask for a re-check and that next pulse will count. There are normally parameters set up for the pulse to be under 60 for you to go on, so if it’s your first time I would take anything under 60. From the pulse area you go to the vet and she will check for dehydration and gut sounds and you will do a trot out so she can check for soundness. Dehydration is one of the most important thing to worry about when you are in a long distance race, here I found a page that tells you how to prevent dehydration and treat it. http://www.octra.on.ca/articles/Dehydration.html Once you are done you can get something to eat or rest until it is time to go back out. You leave the check and do the same thing but this time trying to come back to camp between your window of time. When you come in you will need to cool your horse down, take another pulse and see the vet again. In about an hour after you have came in you will need to make sure that your horse is clean and go back up to the vet for your final hands on where she will go back over everything that she did before you started. If you are only riding one day then you are done, take care of your horse and wait until awards but if you are going on the 2nd day you will need to do the same thing over again.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

A start to a typical weekend

On a typical ride weekend I start packing up around noon, get all the horse stuff and our stuff packed up. Then we go to the grocery store and get food and drinks for the weekend. We then double check if we have everything we need and then hook up the trailer, get the horses in and we’re off. We have the whole thing down to a science now, exactly everything that we need and in what order it needs to fit in the truck for it all to fit. The list of things you need to bring is to long for me to tell you right now but I will in another post. Most rides that we go to aren’t that far away; I think that the farthest away we go on a regular basis is 6 hours. We have gone to the same rides for so long we don’t even need directions anymore. When we arrive the first thing is to find a spot to camp, set up the horse fence and make sure that the horses have everything that they need before anything else happens. Once they are situated and it is still light outside, we will register and get vetted-in. Vetting-in is done by a lay judge and the head vet. The lay judge makes sure that there aren’t any rubs, scraps, or sores on the horse. The vet then checks the rest of the horse for hydration, pain, and swelling and determines the over all condition of the horse. You also must do a trot out for her, which is out, a circle in both directions and back, this is to determine lameness and evenness of gait. Here is a link to a general set of parameters to determine the condition of your horse. http://www.octra.on.ca/articles/parameters.html They are then put back in the fence and all our other stuff gets done, the things that we need to do for ourselves, like put up the tent and make sure that the horses are feed early. Usually around 9pm they have a riders’ meeting that tells you what trail you are going to be riding and how long you time is going to be. A typical time for a 25 mile ride is 4 ½ to 5 hours with a half hour hold in the middle for a vet check. Once you are sure you know what you are doing for the next morning you finish anything that you need to do, hang out with some friends and go to bed early because you will be getting up early, even before the sun is up.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

So what is it?

Competitive trail riding is one of two disciplines of distance riding the other is endurance riding. I’m going to tell you about endurance first because that is the one that I know the least about. Endurance is more of a cross-country race where every horse starts at the same time and are placed by the order in which they come in. They have a series of veterinary checks that they most complete in order to go on to the next portion of the course and when all the checks are completed and they cross the finish line they are placed pending on a final veterinary inspection. The normal distance traveled in a day is 50-100 miles with speeds averaging 10-12 miles per hour. The American Endurance Riders Committee governs all North American endurance rides. www.aerc.org In all the basic idea is that the fastest horse wins.
Competitive trail riding on the other-hand is the best-conditioned horse that wins. The horse is scored on the finishing condition verses that starting condition. Points are deducted the condition worsens throughout the ride. Things that they look for are pulse rate, fatigue, dehydration, gut sounds, lameness, evenness of gait, and pain or swelling in legs or back. These rides are normally 25 to 40 miles in a day with speeds averaging 5-7 mile per hour. Competitive trail riding is a good tool for preparing your horse for endurance riding. This is the club that I belong to http://oaats.org, so this is the basic idea about the sport and I’ll tell you more of the details in future posts.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

The Hook

We enjoyed our horses and tried everything new that we could, which wasn't suprising when we did our first CTR. Our horseman's club sponsors a competitive trail ride in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park called the Celebration. So we tried it to support our club and try something new. It worked out that my brother had a cross-country meet that June weekend, so my dad and I rode. It was something that you need to experience yourself because I loved it. I'll tell you in later posts exactly what happens and how it all goes down. I enjoyed the whole weekend spending time with my horses and making new friends, I was hooked. I found a good discussion board about distance riding, if my explainations aren't clear or if you would want to see what others have to say about it.http://www.octra.on.ca/forum/

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

The Horses

I think that almost every young girl dreams of having a horse of her own and I wasn’t surprised when my dad bought us our first horses. My dad, brother and I were constantly doing horse related activities even though we didn’t have horses of our own. For my 13th birthday, my dad told me that we were taking the horse trailer to get fixed for some friends because we had a truck and they didn’t. We weren’t fixing anything; we picked up two Arabian mares, Ashley and Bleu. At that time Ashley was 13 years-old, full of spirit and a little swayed back, but I fell in love with the little chestnut mare. Bleu was a flea-bitten gray(For those that don't know what this is, it is a color of a horse that is white with brown specs.), 12 years-old, who had a filly a year prior. My brother fell in love with Bleu at least we didn’t have one thing to fight about. At first we rode around the trails at home, taking turns since there were 3 of us and only 2 horses, my dad sometimes even run with us so that we could be together. We joined the Medina County Ohio Horseman’s council, which is a club that helps build and maintain the trails in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, which I basically our backyard. In the club we would work on the trails Saturday morning and in the afternoon go for a ride. Since we were camping with the group there would be dinner and a fire until late in the evening and then another ride Sunday morning. After relaxing for a while we would mosey on home and look forward to the next weekend. http://www.medinacountyohc.com

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Goals

I want to set-up some goals/guidelines for my blog:
1. Keep postings short and simple. (I have found that long postings aren't fun to read and it just makes me want to scroll down until I find a picture.)
2. I want to keep up with my blog after class is over because that is when I'll start riding more often and I will have interesting stories to tell.
3. And finally to keep it fun, because what is a good blog if the blogger themselves doesn't even like it.
These are the main guidelines that I want to abide by and if for some reason you feel I'm not doing a good job, don't hesitate to say something.

Getting Started

Before jumping right into my blog, I want to give some information about it. I am creating this blog for my english class at the Ohio State University. We are to write about something that we are passionate about, that will be something that people will want to read. Tolearn more about me and this class you can go to the other blog that I have written. http://osuenglish367kim.blogspot.com I chose to write about horses and what I do with mine. I know that there are many horse owners out there that enjoy their horses just as much as I do; I want to tell you about another discipline. I compete in Competitive Trail Riding(CTR) with my horses and I want to inform others about it. This is for those that don't know about it and as something to relate to for those who already know about CTR. After searching through many blogs, I haven't found very many about animals, however I know there has to be some out there. So I am just setting this up as something I would personally like to read.