Monday, August 13, 2012

Speed and averages

I board at a self-care barn. We have dressage riders, Pony Club riders, die-hard Natural Horsemanship folks, gymkhana riders, people who just like to ride their horse, people whose horses are retired but used to ride them, people whose horses aren't rideable, people who aren't physically able to ride their horse. As far as endurance or even distance riders go, though, that's mostly me. A friend has ridden her Walker on the local 25 once. Other Haffies have done NATRC in the past.  Another girl on a borrowed horse would probably do a 25 with me, but has neither transportation nor saddle. Fetti and I can do our usual 6-mile loop to the Deck and back in two hours solo, hour and a half with another horse. It's a nice little loop as far as I'm concerned, but a full ride for most folks, and we're doing it much faster than most. Frankly, having Funder's Dixie set a faster pace than we could easily keep up was a bit of a surprise. I know all the charts online say that the average horse should have roughly a 5mph trot. I'm riding a pony with other ponies and a TWH. 'Average horse' doesn't hold much meaning. We do a lot of work on slowing down on the trail so that our riding partners can keep up. Alone, I have to push her for forwards, nevermind the extra-forwards I feel like I *should* be getting to have her quick enough. In all fairness, more than half the ride to the Deck is either somewhat steep uphills and/or steps, and maybe half the ride back - even on the other side of the loop - is a handful of steps and a few substantial downhills. Our flatter sections of the trail are heavily populated with hikers. Trail etiquette deems that we walk past the hikers, and Fetti is well trained: walk as we draw close, trot once we're a few steps past. With luck, we'll up our pace to an hour and a half to the Deck solo by the end of the year!

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