Sunday, September 12, 2010

Ready To Ride

Sunday September 12 2010

At Le Grand Luce today, I'm riding a 20 km ride on Dougal; Richard is riding a 40 km ride on Mr Ox, a new horse Richard and Nicky bought for their client Selina.

Selina and her husband Graham and charming daughter Elsa drove down from England yesterday to watch and help crew.

The way these qualifying rides work is: you sign up for a distance, you show up on the day, vet in, and take off down the trail whenever you want. You have a minimum and maximum speed in which to do your ride, which I believe is 12-14 km/h (7.5-8.5 mph). There's no mass start for any ride but a 'starred' ride - i.e. the 90km CEI* ride will have an 8 AM starting time.

Nicky and Richard were going to turn me loose on Dougal to do my own thing, but I was happy to hear that Richard will try to time it to have completed his first loop of the 40 km and vetted through, and meanwhile Nicky will have vetted Dougal in so I can ride my only loop with Richard on his second loop. Dougal's an easy and fun horse to ride, but he's not my horse, and I don't want to cause him to put a foot wrong!

And most interesting (and odd) for me is that I will be crewed out on course! Nicky and Selina and Graham will meet us out on crew points to dump water on Dougal to cool him down. Heck, normally I'm lucky if I have crew helping me in vet checks, but that's what they do here.

Nicky and Richard and Selina have pulled out with the horses; Graham and Elsa and I will soon follow. The ride is an hour and a half down the road. We'll be following soon.


  1. curious, so does anyone ride in europe without a crew? and do crews always follow riders (or drive to crew points ahead and wait)?

    i'm trying to find out if endurance can be anything like it is back home in any european country.

    i have memories of crew members running alongside their horses with water bottles.


  2. I hope it went well!

    12 kph minimum? WOW. The thing I can't get over about non-American endurance is how everybody else races. It's the race aspect more than the experience level requirement that I don't think I'd enjoy.

    I am not sure of the point of racing a horse fast for 12 miles. I really like our LSD training methodology better, I think.

    but I'm not trying to detract from your race. I'm so happy for you! You're getting such a cool experience over there - I hope you and Dougal had a blast.

  3. Wow, that sounds like SO much fun.

    I will be eager to read your report on how the ride went. Great plan to ride the second loop with Richard.

    Nice to know they clearly trusted you to do it right by Dougal on your own, but I truly respect your decision to go with someone instead.

  4. I have yet to attend a European endurance ride where people are NOT out on the road/trail crewing horses at certain spots. It seems to be as big a part of the sport (and FUN and MANIC for everybody involved) as the riding itself. Many people in Europe, especially France, are in endurance as a business - to sell horses - and less are in it for the fun - hence the need to go fast and be able to pour water on your horse to cool it down as often as possible (even in the cool rain...). I find all the crewing and seriousness of it amusing - but then I ride for fun, not for competition, and I'm totally not serious about much in life. How can one be if they ride every ride with a Raven?
    - The Equestrian Vagabond

  5. What a great opportunity, to ride endurance in France on such a beautiful horse.