New to Endurance- Can We Do It?

I am really interested in doing some shorter distance rides (under 50 miles) with my “dressage horse.” He is sound, but has some neck issues that make collection a challenge for him, so I thought we would do this to not only gain more cardiac fitness, but also to still have a goal without beating the same dead dressage horse over and over again. He is an 18 hand Trakehner, 6 years old. Can a horse with physiological issues compete in endurance? I planned on trying Duplo shoes for him, because his neck is significantly more comfortable in the Equine Jogging Shoes I got him, but they are not a great fit for him (gigantic feet, but not pasterns, so they rub) and I was hoping to have the stability of traditional shoes with the heel function and shock absorption of polyurethane.

We are doing conditioning rides of 6 miles on the trail 3 times a week currently, with 1 day a week of flat schooling, and one of jumping. Does this sound like a functional jumping off point?

I can’t speak to your horse’s neck issues but as far as conditioning, check out Go the Distance by Nancy Loving. I’ve only done LD rides, but the book is a wealth of information.

I will second the recommendation for the Go the Distance book, it was great when I was starting out (and still is!). As for your horses physical issues, that will only be known once you start longer/faster conditioning rides. 6 miles is a fine start, but read up, for me my rule was to increase speed OR distance OR difficulty, but never more than one of those elements (I’m sure I read that in the book!). Track your rides (GPS or write down distance/elapsed time) and go for it!

I see you are in MD- where in MD, if you’re near me (Fair Hill area) I can help you out. If not I can definitely hook you up someone else who can!

OP might want to ride Competitive Trail rides before jumping into Endurance

More books on endurance (with a focus on Tevis):

I jumped into (Novice) endurance riding one summer all by myself after spending all winter thinking about it and deciding to try it. We had a blast. I spent three seasons travelling all over the Midwest with my Appaloosa and we just enjoyed the heck out of it. We stuck w the 15 mile and 25 mile rides because he’s older and we wanted to keep it under 6 hours. Really really fun and great people!

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