Thursday, May 18, 2017

The story of my first 50 miler – Eagle Canyon, 2017 - Marie Burcham

RedMareRunning Blog - Full Story

Monday, May 1, 2017
by Marie Burcham

You heard right. The title of this post is an accurate tease. I finally got to and completed a 50 miler ride. For those who know how long I have been drifting on the periphery of the endurance sport – doing an LD here and there – this was a major accomplishment for me.

The background

Long story short of it I am catch riding this year due to Deli being out in rehab. Who knows if Deli will ever be able to do even LDs again? Her rehab is going well, but we’ve hit on the issue of saddles. So I’m in the thick of that again: finding a saddle that fits her given her health needs and fits me and is not super expensive. So far it’s been an impossible task.

In the meantime I’ve been riding and conditioning my friend “M” horse Duke. Duke is fairly new to her – a rescue with some possible harsh treatment in his past (he was likely a dancing horse). Either because of the sketchy past or for some unknown reason his brain tends to go to some unknown place when stressed and he pulls like heck. That, combined with becoming less aware of his surroundings – which can lead to more tripping/ignoring of aids – means riding him can be like being a freight train conductor. A freight train that can canter in place when agitated..! He is a little guy (mustang-arab cross), but very solidly built. Luckily he also has comfy gaits, so when he is hopping all over the place like a loon you at least are not being jarred everywhere.

Observe how adorable this guy is:

So I’ve been riding Duke 1-2 times a week and enjoying the challenge and getting to know him better. The good news is every ride came with some slight improvement. I hope I have been helpful overall, because there is some hope that Duke would be the mount for M’s kid, who has also done endurance.

Two weekends before the planned 50 M and I took Duke and her other horse, Pepper (who has completed Tevis) for a long conditioning ride. We ended up doing almost 25 miles out in the Colombia Gorge area. The general idea for Duke was that because of his pulling and general athleticism, his first ride should be a 50 rather than an LD. We did NOT want him, with his pulling and competitive anxiety-brain to get the idea he couldn’t take care of himself. This conditioning ride clinched it, as Duke still had plenty of juice after that ride despite doing it at an endurance pace...

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