Pictured: Darice Whyte on Shalimar Cierra Rose
I sold one of my beautiful Arabian mares recently. I have owned Shalimar Cierra Rose for 10 years and during that time I tried to make her into an endurance horse. Despite my best attempts it just wasn’t her forte. I could tell she was thinking “how much further is this crazy lady going to ride me?”
She certainly wasn’t a 50 mile horse and she had way more whoa than go. She preferred to show me how well she could jump logs on the trail than race down the trail.
Someone once said to me “they can’t all be endurance horses you know”. I thought he was referring to other breeds. Not an Arabian! But yes, he was right. You just can’t fit a square peg into a round hole. Sometimes it just doesn’t work even if it is an Arabian.
An endurance horse needs to be sane but also needs to love going down the trail. Preferably at a manageable speed and not careening down the trails helter skelter. You also can’t be pushing a horse down the trail for 50 miles. You’ll be just as exhausted as the horse. And well before 50 miles!
Along with other things, you want your endurance horse to have a low resting heart rate and a pulse rate that will recover quickly. If you’re standing there sponging and cooling your horse for a long time after a loop trying to drop their heart rate something is off. It could be your training program, the heat of the day, the heavy horse team that just trotted by or some other reason that you just can’t identify. If this continues at each ride you need to make adjustments. And sometimes the adjustment is another horse better suited to what you want to do.
Years back when I was looking at selling Tia I had 2 people who were interested in her ask me if I realized how well Tia recovered. Well I didn’t then but I sure do now. Cierra taught me that lesson. Endurance horses are special and yes, some are just naturals.