I've renewed my AERC membership and added Consolation as a second mount. I've created new and improved templates for my conditioning logs. And, I've formulated my goals for 2009.
One of my favorite things about this sport is the endless challenge it offers. Riders like me, who are just starting out, can set goals for number of miles to complete or new (but reasonable!) speeds to achieve. Experienced riders whose horses have several years of conditioning under their girths can think about actually racing, or riding all five days of a pioneer ride, or attempting a first 100.
Me, I'm going for miles next year -- sound, steady miles that will build my horses' bodies and minds in preparation for faster efforts in the future. I hope to attend every ride in Idaho, but even if I don't, I should be able to achieve the following:
Aaruba: Reach the 500 AERC endurance mile mark. He currently has 105 miles, so we have just 395 to go. I think this is quite attainable; we might even manage 500 miles next year alone. I'd also like to increase our speed a little, from end-of-the-line to mid-pack. Of course, all this depends on our ability to keep his ulcer-prone tummy content. More on that in an upcoming post.
Consolation: Earn 200 AERC miles, LD and endurance combined. This is a touch ambitious as it might require her to do two 50's with one rest day between them at the last ride of the season, but if all goes well, I think we can do it. Obviously, training is more important than conditioning at this point in her career, and I'll gladly sacrifice this mileage goal in favor of spending more time on the basics if necessary.
Myself: Expand my understanding of equine nutrition and exercise physiology. Learn to trim hooves so I can touch them up when Travis is unavailable. Be less shy, so I can make more friends at rides.
By spring, you can bet I'll have a much longer list of goals. Acey will be on it, as will Sandstorm and Tuetano and Insider and Ripple and CJ.
By fall, I will be very tired. And content. And busy planning for 2010. _________________________________________________________
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