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Distance Riding 101


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Everything you need to know to get started in the sport of endurance riding

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Distance Riding 101

  1. 1. You Can Do This!
  2. 2.  Almost all distance riders came to the sport from a different discipline  Almost all of them started with the horse they “happened to own at the time”  Nearly all found it more than a little intimidating at first  AND NOW THEY ARE COMPLETELY ADDICTED!
  3. 3. The variety of horses (and mules) and riders will amaze you!
  4. 4. Photo courtesy Bill Gore Photography
  5. 5. Photo courtesy Lynne Glazer Imagery Hall of Fame Icelandic horse Remington Over 10,000 miles and twenty years of competition and STILL going at 28 years old! Other gaited breeds include Peruvians, Foxtrotters, Rocky Mtn horses, Standardbreds, Saddlebreds…
  6. 6. Julie Suhr, 92 years old, has finished the Tevis Cup 100 mile ride 22 times
  7. 7. Bill Wilson, Earle Baxter, Crockett Dumas Photo © Genie Stewart-Spears
  8. 8. It’s A Lot More Like This!
  9. 9.  Lynne Glazer Imagery  Angie McGhee  Wendy Webb  Rachel Lodder  Kate Rogers  Karen Chaton  Bill Gore  Susan Garlinghouse  Richard and Patti Stedman  Troy and the AERC Office  Members of ECTRA The photos used are for educational purposes and are not to be copied or printed! Thanks!
  10. 10. You Can Do This! We Can Help!
  11. 11. Where Do I Start? THE RIDER 19
  12. 12.  Started the sport from some other riding discipline:  Fundamental horsemanship and riding skills are critical in the sport ◦ Balanced riding ◦ Ability to handle on-trail obstacles ◦ Help and not hinder the horse (and you!) ◦ Good judgment and common sense ◦ A top endurance rider succeeds not by riding “fast” but by riding SMART 20
  13. 13.  Riding is a life-long skill that needs to be honed and developed  Everyone needs a set of “eyes on the ground.” Even the world-class riders!  Assymetries or old injuries – a crooked ride=crooked horse=sore horse  Look for instructors that teach BALANCE, not just show ring “pretty” 21
  14. 14. From Riding Light TM White = heat. Same horse, same saddle, two different riders. 22
  15. 15. 23
  16. 16.  Walk, trot (maybe canter) alone or in group  Ride your own ride!  Deal with obstacles and “scary stuff”.  Help and not hinder your horse for a long time.  Demonstrate good ground manners, etiquette and SAFETY in areas with lots of other people and horses. ALWAYS! 24
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  19. 19. Wendy Webb Photography 27 “Practice” at home by walking over big sheets of plywood or home-made bridges
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  22. 22.  This is the key to improving your riding and horsemanship skills.  If you need help, get it: ◦ From a mentor ◦ From a riding instructor or trainer ◦ From your riding partners  Developing these skills is important to your horse and important to having FUN on distance rides. 30
  23. 23. Where Do I Start? THE STUFF 31
  24. 24. 32 Bridle (leather or biothane) Fits well and doesn’t rub Halter/bridle combos Steering/Brakes Hackamores Bits Sidepull NOTE: You may not recognize the evil twin horse who shows up on ride day and needs more brakes than you thought!
  25. 25. Bosal, not seen often Halter/bridle combo w/elevator bit Bridle with S-hackamore Hackamore Halter/bridle combo with standard English bit 33 Some Bridle Options
  26. 26. 34  Saddles ◦ English/Dressage ◦ Western ◦ Australian ◦ Treeless ◦ Flex-panel  Saddle Pads ◦ Endless varieties and combinations
  27. 27. 35  Billets or rigging  Girth or cinch  Stirrup leathers  Tree integrity (for treed saddles)  Buckles, D-rings  Bridle and reins
  28. 28. 36
  29. 29. 37
  30. 30. 38  Help prevent saddle movement, especially on rides with elevation  Breast collars are an excellent safety device if you have a girth/cinch/rigging failure ◦ Recommended for every ride  Cruppers may be needed by some horses with some saddle set-ups ◦ Practice, practice, practice!
  31. 31. 39  Whatever works!  Many rides recommend hoof protection due to terrain  Some rides suitable for barefoot horses, but most trails are more comfortable for your horse with hoof protection  Huge variety of shoeing/booting combos  Use what works for you and your horse
  32. 32. 40  Easy Boots in many styles, also glue-ons  Renegades
  33. 33. 41  Some horses interfere despite best efforts ◦ May be due to conditioning, conformation, behavior, trimming/shoeing.  If you use leg protection, make sure it: ◦ Stays in place ◦ Does not rub ◦ Does not cause excessive heat buildup ◦ Does not get filled with sand/dirt as you ride
  34. 34. 42
  35. 35. 43  You will see a WIDE VARIETY of rigs at camp  Safe and comfortable  Or hitch a ride with a friend!
  36. 36. 44  Nothing that rubs or binds – if it bothers you on a short ride, it will be unbearable on a long ride  Most riders opt for: Riding tights (even the guys) Half chaps Riding boots or running shoes (with a stirrup cage) Helmet (required for juniors and STRONGLY recommended for everyone else) Gloves  Be ready for unexpected weather “There is no bad riding weather, just inappropriate riding gear.”
  37. 37. This ain’t the show ring. If it works, it’s fine. 45
  38. 38. 46  Recommended items: ◦ Stethoscope and/or a heart rate monitor ◦ Buckets ◦ Hay nets/bags (depending on your camping set up) ◦ Feed pans ◦ Basic grooming stuff
  39. 39. 47  Recommended: ◦ Rump cover (for cold ride starts – practice so your horse isn’t spooked in wind) ◦ Sponge(s) or scoops, sweat scraper ◦ Cooler sheet and blankets, even if you don’t blanket at home. Warm muscles are happy muscles.
  40. 40. 48  Warm, dry clothes and bedding  Place to store food and drinks  Cooking equipment  Flashlight/Headlamp  Potty (most rides provide porta-potties)  Place to keep/secure your horse ◦ More on that later…
  41. 41. Where Do I Start? THE FEED 49
  42. 42. that riders complicate long before they have to! Keep It Simple! 50
  43. 43.  Free choice, good quality grass hay ◦ Orchard, timothy, bermuda, grain hays  +/- alfalfa (never more than 50% of diet)  Enough calories to keep good body condition ◦ Many commercial formulas on the market ◦ Usually better +/- cheaper than home recipes 51
  44. 44.  Choose ONE high quality vitamin-mineral supplement ◦ OR feed a supplement with vit- min premix included  Resist the urge to buy another bucket “just because” ◦ “It’s the beginning of ride season…” ◦ “It’s the end of ride season...” ◦ “It’s breeding season…” 52
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  46. 46.  Free choice salt at all times  Endurance horses lose as much as an ounce of electrolytes through sweat loss per mile of trail ◦ Doesn’t have to be “designer” salt ◦ Salt is the ONLY mineral that horses will develop a specific appetite for ◦ Loose or block? ◦ Trace minerals?  TM blocks are formulated for livestock, and not really a significant source of anything other than salt 54
  47. 47.  Clean, fresh water ◦ Nutrient most commonly neglected ◦ In the sun? Dirty? Frozen? Inappropriate quantity/water pressure? ◦ Horses will drink 10% more water if their eyes don’t go below the brim of the container 55
  48. 48.  Pasture/fresh grass is “green magic” if you can get it  Even a few minutes of hand grazing during rides is beneficial  Teach your horse the “snatch and go” trick on the trail 56
  49. 49.  Your horse does not need to be “skinny” to compete in this sport (this horse is too thin). =>  Body Condition Score of 5 is ideal ◦ Can feel but not see the ribs  Too thin = higher risk of metabolic problems and non- completion  Too fat = insulating layer, more core heat to dissipate 57
  50. 50.  LOTS of hay!!!  No last minute changes or additions  Feed any grain or concentrates so that they are consumed no later than midnight the night before 58
  51. 51.  No 4 a.m. grain or concentrate breakfast  Why not? Don’t they need the extra energy?  Does the Space Shuttle need starter fluid?!  Glucose- insulin curves 59
  52. 52. 60 Hay or grass far more beneficial than concentrates Wet is ALWAYS better than dry, including hay Carrots always good but not exclusively STILL LOTS of hay!!! Neighbor’s feed pan with permission okay as a “bite” but beware making an entire meal of it!
  53. 53.  None – perfectly acceptable if horse eats/drinks well and you’re riding conservatively  Homemade formulas (be careful not to get too creative with “extra” ingredients), like No Salt (potassium chloride) 61
  54. 54.  Formulas that horses readily eat (probably not doing much, though)  Pre-loaded e’lyte syringes (e.g. Lyte Now, EnduraMax)  Load-your-own syringes with powdered electrolytes (many brands) and some “carrier” (e.g. applesauce, water, buffer, etc.) 62
  55. 55.  Night before  As soon as you get up before start  After first good drink  Every 12-15 miles or so (usually at the vet checks before leaving)  Don’t use as a “treatment” for not drinking 63
  56. 56.  Smaller doses more frequently better than one or two mega-doses  Think salt shaker, not shovel  Never exceed manufacturer instructions 64
  57. 57.  The best thing you can give your horse during a ride is hay, water and directions.  The rest is just details. 65
  58. 58. Where to start? 66
  59. 59. 67  Age, stabling situation, conditioning and training opportunities  Experience ◦ Fitness base    ◦ Training base  Evaluate your schedule. How much time can you realistically give your horse?  What are your short term and long term goals?  Plan a weekly schedule
  60. 60. 68  A systematic approach to ◦ Hardening the horse’s connective tissue, ◦ Developing appropriate musculature to do the job, and ◦ Ensuring adequate cardio-vascular fitness  It involves work and REST!  Gradual increase of the work load: ◦ Distance, difficulty (hills, sand, concussion), speed  Never more than one on the same day  Don’t increase each stressor by more than 10% per week to avoid chronic injury
  61. 61. 69 Train at the pace you intend to ride Don’t condition at 6 mph and then decide to be a front-runner THIS IS THE MOST COMMON MISTAKE NEW RIDERS MAKE Don’t confuse “adrenaline” with “ability” and don’t be a “one season wonder” horse
  62. 62. 70  The horse’s appearance does not change at all (i.e. horse does not lose weight if overweight, does not gain muscle, does not “tighten up”)  The horse never appears to be challenged by the work  The horse’s heart rate is at or below 60 by the time you dismount (when you did not have an extended cool down period)
  63. 63. 71  The horse is sour, reluctant to work  Avoidance behavior---bucking, unbalanced movement, runaway  Won’t change diagonals, bend, change gaits  Difficulty keeping weight on the horse; lack of appetite (may indicate gastric ulcers); dull eye and hair coat  Chronic soreness  Back, girth area  Legs (filling in legs, other signs of strain, lameness, stiff at the start of a ride, or avoidance behavior)  Stiff and sore, “ouchy”  Poor heart rate recoveries (more than 10 minutes to reach 60 bpm, and more than 20 minutes to recover to resting heart rate)
  64. 64. 72  25 mile ÷6 hours = 4.1 mph average speed to complete  But wait…  Subtract 1 hour of holds => 25 miles ÷ 5 hrs = 5 mph  Subtract another hour at water stops, adjusting tack… 25 miles ÷ 4 hrs = 6.25 mph average speed to complete  Learn what 5, 6, 7, 10 mph looks like  GPS technology is very helpful, but not req’d.
  65. 65. 73  This doesn’t mean you never travel at any other speed—  Ride the trail in front of you- Walk uphills and difficult footing Get off and walk/jog down hills Make time when conditions allow you to move out  Never go faster just because your horse says, “Let’s GO!!” “Race brain” affects both horses and riders! This is how you create a “one-season wonder” Does great for a few rides and then disappears because of chronic injury
  66. 66. 74
  67. 67. 75  Short “wind sprints” of 10-30 seconds, rest, repeat ◦ Increase time and repetitions as fitness increases  Doesn’t have to be flat-out gallops ◦ Hill training? ◦ Altitude? ◦ Swimming? ◦ Be creative but always mindful of not overloading bone, tendon, muscle systems too soon
  68. 68. 76  Appropriate time spent developing your horse’s physiology Cardiovascular develops in 6 months Tendons and ligaments 12 months Bone up to 24 months  Many experienced riders believe that a good prospect with an ‘active’ work background can be taken to a conservative LD ride with little additional conditioning  Many also believe it takes about three years to build a fully developed, potential 100-mile horse
  69. 69. 77  You should have PRACTICED the skills you will need to have fun and be safe ◦ Remember that “training the brain” and “conditioning the body” are two different things  Be able to keep at least a 6 mph pace AVERAGE  Your long conditioning rides are approximately 1/2 – 2/3rds the distance of the planned event without problems.
  70. 70. Location Terrain Amenities 78
  71. 71. 79  Ride manager  Ride flyer/web site  Other riders  Past ride results ◦ Of the starting riders, how many finished?  Good completion rate = a “doable”, well-managed ride  Was the winning time an hour ahead of cutoff?  more than one or two Overtime pulls?  Hint = TOUGH RIDE!
  72. 72. 80  Know what tack works for your horse  Know what clothes work for you  MAKE CHECKLISTS  Pre-pack your crew bag.  Watch the educational videos on YouTube’s AERC Educational Video channel  Familiarize yourself with the rules
  73. 73. 81 Make a goal to COMPLETE with a happy, healthy horse and rider and make it happen!
  74. 74. Look at AERC YouTube Channels for videos on camping and setting up (really).
  75. 75. What To Expect? ARRIVING AT CAMP 83
  76. 76. 84
  77. 77.  Getting good directions is CRITICAL!  Consider buying a US Rider membership  Plan a route that work for you – interstates? Two lane roads?  Beware of following GPS directions without checking  Some ride managers give better directions to their rides than others  Plan to leave early enough to give yourself time to settle in, relax, and deal with any delays 85
  78. 78. And be prepared for whatever Mother Nature might throw your way on ride weekend! 86
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  81. 81.  You may need to check in with the Ride Manager or parking coordinator  Ask where various things, like the vetting area, will be set up, so you can find a parking spot that will work for you  Factors: ◦ Shade ◦ Access to water, potties ◦ Neighbors 89
  82. 82.  As soon as possible, get your horse off the trailer and give him a drink, a chance to eat, urinate, roll, and stretch his legs  If you need help, always ASK!  No, this horse doesn’t actually travel like this. 90
  83. 83.  Set up your camp with horse comfort as top priority  Be a good neighbor – say hello and make sure you’re not crowding others  Don’t forget to take care of you – rest, hydrate  Find out the times/locations for: ◦ Registration/Check-In ◦ Vetting in ◦ Pre-ride meeting ◦ Meals (if provided)  Be a social butterfly! Take your horse for a walk around camp and say hello – be sure to tell people you’re new to the sport! 91
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  85. 85.  If you’re lucky enough to have crew, make sure you’re organized and they are set up to have what you need, when you need it  If you’re on your own, it also pays to be organized  Make a list, set up your crewing area/crew bags 93
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  87. 87. 95
  88. 88. What To Expect? (We have a video for you on AERC YouTube Channel on this topic, too.) 96
  89. 89. Repeat after me, “But he never does this at home…!!” 97
  90. 90.  Novice trot-outs are often very entertaining ◦ May need a do-over  Worried horse? Wait until less crowded  Bringing a buddy horse is okay for moral support 99
  91. 91. Parameters for dehydration Check heart rate and rhythm for ‘progressive recovery’ Check of saddle/girth area for soreness, rubs Gut sounds – indicator of excessive fatigue/dehydration/electrolyte abnormalities Muscle tone for stiffness, fatigue Lameness A straight out and back trot out Loose lead line Prompt and under control. Trampling the vet is Rude. Misbehavior can get the horse disqualified 100
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  95. 95. 104 Lift lip Lightly press on gums to ‘blanch’ A hydrated, metabolically sound horse ‘pinks up’ < 2 seconds Slow refill time usually means dehydration Colors other than pink are usually bad
  96. 96. 105 Press at base of jugular groove How quickly does vein ‘fill’? Quickly = well hydrated, good blood pressure Slow = dehydrated, low blood pressure from decreased plasma volume (not good)
  97. 97. 106
  98. 98. 107 Horses must meet pulse criteria (usually 60-64 beats per min) within 30 minutes of arriving Ride staff will take this initial pulse The control judge (vet) will recheck for ‘progressive recovery’ and to check heart sounds for arrhythmias, etc.
  99. 99. 108
  100. 100. 109 Decreased sounds of digestion usually mean dehydrated, fatigued NO gut sounds may mean pending colic Vets pay close attention to this Learn what your horse sounds like at home so you know when Dis Ain’t Right.
  101. 101. 110 Good ‘pucker’ = okay Floppy and non-pucker = exhausted Never seen by itself, always part of a bigger picture of fatigue. Your horse should tolerate this without kicking, please.
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  105. 105.  Horse moves out promptly without hazing  Trots nicely so handler can keep lead line loose (why loose?)  STRAIGHT away from the vet, turns quietly around, then travels STRAIGHT toward the vet  The horse stops quietly and stands for the rest of the exam. 114
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  108. 108.  Pay attention!  Sit where you can hear Take notes if you need, to but mostly just pay attention to— How to follow the trail Any hazards on trail The logistics of the ride, where to be and when  Many rides hold a new riders’ briefing – Be sure to attend it and don’t be shy about asking questions 117
  109. 109. 118
  110. 110. On this trail, the pink, black and yellow loops go straight ahead– that is the WRONG WAY for the BLUE loop! 119
  111. 111. Don’t laugh. This is a good trick. HINT: Sharpie ink is easily removed afterwards with rubbing alcohol. 120
  112. 112. 121
  113. 113. What To Expect? ON RIDE DAY 122
  114. 114.  Allow yourself PLENTY of time to get ready  Having all of your tack and crew items set up the night before is very helpful.  Make sure both you and your horse have a good meal onboard ◦ No “breakfast” for the horse, just free-choice hay at all times. Carrots are okay, no grain. ◦ E-lyte dose if you plan on using them ◦ For you, whatever sits well on your tummy ◦ DO NOT SKIP BREAKFAST!! 123
  115. 115.  It’s more important to have a GOOD start than an ON TIME start  Excited horses? Wait for few minutes before you start.  It’s polite to let ride management know if you’re starting late. 124
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  117. 117.  REGARDLESS of fitness, weather, age or breed, it takes 25-30 minutes for all the “machinery” of muscles to reach full operating temperature.  Ride accordingly, plenty of easy warm-up. You have lots of miles in front of you. 126
  118. 118.  PAY ATTENTION!  Be prepared for your horse to insist he is suddenly capable of running up front.  Use good judgment, not “race brain”!  If you need to adjust tack, get off the trail to do so safely. 127
  119. 119.  Good endurance horses are not FAST. They are CONSISTENT.  Find your all-day pace for the footing and stay there.  “Never hurry. Never tarry.”  Never waste time.  Learn to multi-task, i.e., eat and drink in the saddle without changing your pace. 128
  120. 120.  No tail-gating the horse in front. They are not your personal braking system.  You should be able to see all four heels of the horse in front of you.  Announce/ask for trail when passing, then keep moving out. Don’t pass and then slow down. 129
  121. 121.  If your horse kicks, hang a red ribbon on the tail!  DISCIPLINE a misbehaving horse.  If you cannot control your horse, GO TO THE BACK!!!  If you pass a dismounted rider, ask if it’s okay to keep going.  If someone else opens a gate, go through and then WAIT for them to remount. 130
  122. 122. 131 Remember that multi- tasking thing? Now’s your chance for a potty break.
  123. 123. 132
  124. 124.  Don’t shove in if there’s a crowd. Wait your turn.  Arrive and depart slowly and calmly.  If your horse is clearly not drinking, be considerate and move your horse out of the way. You can try again in a few minutes. 133
  125. 125.  Don’t interfere with another drinking horse. If your horse cannot be well-behaved, move to one side until they have finished.  Move out of the way before you adjust tack, syringe,etc.  Don’t sponge or scoop out of tanks unless ride management has said it’s okay to do so! 134
  126. 126.  Find the in-timer ◦ They may want your vet card, or will hand you a slip of paper  Time to let your horse cool down and pulse down ◦ Coming in to the in-gate, slower is smarter ◦ Politely ask for “pulse” when your horse’s pulse is at or below parameter (often 60 or 64 beats per minute) 135
  127. 127. Many horses pulse down faster if their rider dismounts, loosens their saddle a bit, and hand walks them in as a “cue” that it’s time to relax. 136
  128. 128.  On a hot day, pull the saddle  Sponge.  Scrape.  Repeat.  Water left on the horse more than 30 seconds or so becomes an insulating layer to trap heat. 137
  129. 129. 138
  130. 130.  Lead your horse to the pulsing area with your vet card or pulse slip in hand  Be aware of other horses around you.  Encourage him to stand quietly and relax  Don’t let your horse rub his head on volunteers, crowd other horses or create a disturbance in the pulse area  Pulse etiquette Don’t get your pulse taken and then walk your horse away from a ‘buddy’ in the pulse area – that horse’s pulse rate will jump up when your horse walks away 139
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  132. 132.  Be sure to tell the vet if there are concerns you have about your horse – they are there to help you get through the ride safely!  Safety first-- Pay attention!  Listen to what the vet tells you about what they are seeing and any concerns they have ◦ They know what they are doing. If they advise slowing down or doing some different, DO IT. 141
  133. 133.  Many veterinarians will routinely conduct a CRI  The veterinarian takes the horse’s heart rate  The horse trots 125 feet out and then back.  After one minute from the first heart rate, the heart rate is re-taken  Horses who are recovering well will have a second heart rate the same or lower than the first  A second heart rate that is higher might be a sign of: Discomfort Overexertion Fatigue 142
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  135. 135. 144
  136. 136.  Your hold time begins when your horse gets their pulse time recorded  Time for you to: Get your horse to eat/drink/rest Eat/drink/rest yourself Hit the potty Re-adjust tack  You can always take more time at the hold; just remember that it eats into your on-trail time  If your horse is not EDPP (eating, drinking, peeing, pooping) or seems NQR (“not quite right”) talk to the vet or your mentor about what to do 145
  137. 137. 146 Don’t forget to rest yourself, too!
  138. 138. 147 A towel or cooler over hindquarters muscles will help keep them warm if it’s chilly or there’s a cold breeze
  139. 139. 148
  140. 140.  Urine should be no darker than straw-colored, with plenty of volume  Some horses are fussy about where they will urinate and will “hold” it  You may be able to teach your horse to urinate by whistling every time he urinates (or your horse may teach you to whistle by urinating!)  Warning signs – NO urinating, very DARK urine (e.g. dark tea or coffee), or lack of volume  Inform the vet if they posture to pee, but don’t. 149
  141. 141. 150
  142. 142. What To Expect AT THE FINISH 151
  143. 143. You are ready for a cold beverage, grub and some Advil! But not just yet … You’ve got a horse to take care of! 152
  144. 144.  You are not “finished” with a LD ride until your horse has reached pulse criteria  A horse that comes in behind you, but pulses in sooner, finishes ahead of you  This is a strategic moment if you care about placing.  All horses MUST reach pulse criteria within 30 minutes to be eligible for a completion. No exceptions. 153
  145. 145.  All LD horses must pass a vet completion check within 30 minutes and be judged “fit to continue” to receive a completion.  If the LD is offering Best Condition (BC) judging, the Top Ten horses to finish and pulse down will be eligible to show for BC ◦ BC judging is one hour after reaching pulse criteria. ◦ Don’t forget to weigh in before you leave finish line area! 154
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  147. 147.  Your ‘placing’ is in the order you cross the finish line, not who reaches criteria first.  You have 30 minutes to reach pulse criteria after crossing the finish line ◦ New 2015 rules, but allows flexibility for finish lines that are a significant distance out from base camp.  Top ten to cross line are eligible to show for BC one hour later. ◦ DON’T BE LATE!!!!  Can present for completion check any time within one hour. 156
  148. 148. 157
  149. 149.  No disappearing inside for a shower…  While untacking, look for rubs, sensitive spots, abnormal sweat patterns or lack of.  Check OFTEN that he is EDPP and comfortable.  This means overnight as well.  Ask the vet for an opinion if you’re unsure  PLENTY of forage and clean water.  Monitor body temp to cool out gradually without getting chilled ◦ Core body temp can take HOURS to dissipate 158
  150. 150.  Some horses love a good clean up and brushing; others want to be left alone to eat and drink. Know your horse!  Finding a nice sandy spot to roll is usually highly appreciated.  Take him for a ten minute walk a few hours later, before bed and the next morning. ◦ Check for stiffness, attitude, appetite ◦ Don’t forget to check for lots of poop and urine. 159
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  154. 154.  Most rides have an Awards Ceremony – try to stay if you can. It’s a good time for you to celebrate and socialize.  Unless you live less than two hours away, strongly consider staying overnight to let your horse rest. (Hauling is stressful!)  In AERC LD and Endurance rides, there are completion awards and often awards for other milestones  Usually there is a meal associated with the Awards Ceremony – you will be hungry! 163
  155. 155. 164 NOW you can relax and celebrate! CONGRATULATIONS!
  156. 156. 165 You’ll want to be sure your horse is comfortable, has plenty of hay and water to recharge his batteries You’ll both be less stiff if you go for a ten minute walk several times that evening and in the morning. This is a good time to evaluate how you both really feel.
  157. 157. 166