By Jennifer Klitzke
I took my naturally gaited and barefoot Tennessee walking horse mare Makana to our first novice endurance ride of the year: Sisu on the Border. We rode 13 miles in the optimum time of two hours and 15 minutes. The strategy is to ride the first hour and forty-five minutes at a brisk pace (oops, I mean tempo) so that the last 30 minutes is at a walk cool down to get the horse’s heart rate and respiration down for the post vet check.
In addition to reaching the finish line within optimum time, the horse is judged on pre and post vet checks for pulse, respiration, heart rate and recovery, soundness, hydration, and obedience. I’m so proud of my girl! She took first place among Arabians, half Arabians, Pintos and another gaited horse.
If you’ve never ridden at an endurance ride and enjoy trail riding, you’ve got to give it a try. It is a blast and the novice group is led by an advanced endurance rider who will keep you on time and from getting lost. Plus the endurance people are a super fun group to hang around with.
Thank you Chip and my group riders Kristin and Deb. Thanks also to the dozens of Sisu on the Border organizers and volunteers to God for orchestrating a perfect Spring day through the gorgeous Sand Dunes State Forest! For more about endurance riding, visit Minnesota Distance Riders Association and Upper Midwest Endurance and Competitive Rides Association.
Video: Scenes from our Novice Endurance Ride