Sunday, March 29, 2009

Training with Serts

Today I took Serts out for a training ride. I have been riding him without a HRM, but decided it was time to do that. My plan was to do an 18 mile training to gauge his readiness for an LD at Chicken Chase. Additional goals were to keep his HR under 135 (except for short stints uphill) and to keep the average speed between 5 and 6 mph.

Daniel suggested I stay close to home so that if Serts got too sour or I got too frustrated, we could stop early and not be several miles from home. I figured that was good advice. Besides, the hills are right next to the house and I wanted to be sure to get some hill work during the ride.

So we headed off down the street for a ride. Serts was doing pretty well. I gave him short breaks often and allowed him to eat some grass along the way. I am working with him on eating. He wants to stop from a trot to grab a nice bite of grass, but I don't like that, so I am working on training him to only eat when I allow it. So even when we walk, I don't allow him to eat at will like I do with Tanna. Not that Serts didn't get plenty of grass on the ride, just only when I dictated since he's so piggish about it.

We were right on schedule, ranging out a couple miles from the house and then doubling back to climb a hill and repeating. I was pleased and Serts seemed to be doing well.

But then the HRM started to read too high. At first, the readings weren't too bad. About 150. I thought maybe Serts was getting tired, so I dropped back to a walk for a minute or two, then asked for a trot again. The HR reading degraded to the point it was 230 even while walking. I hopped off several times to adjust the girth electrode, but couldn't get the reading to be consistent again.

Since Serts is hard for me to read about whether he's really tired vs just bored, I decided to nix the rest of the ride and headed back home.

Serts' long hair had balled up and clumped around the girth electrode, so I wonder if that had something to do with it. It's also possible the HRM battery needs to be changed again.

We ended up with 10.7 miles instead of 18. Serts didn't seem stressed at all. His HR was 46 when I pulled the saddle (after the 10 minute cool down) and he trotted out readily for his post-workout trot out. I put a wool blanket on under his wind-breaker (it was rather chilly out with a stiff breeze) and turned him in the paddock with Tanna and some hay.

After he dried, I brushed him well and got rid of the clumps of shedding hair. All seemed good.

Still haven't made the final go-no-go decision for doing the LD at Chicken Chase. I'd still like to get an 18 mile ride on him before making that decision. Time is fast disappearing for that opportunity!


All Who Wander said...

April, I follow your blog with interest. Noticed you at the National ride! Once a horse has a base, how much conditioning to hold that base? Thanks! Endurance Granny

April said...

Hi, EnduranceGranny,

I only have the one horse to go on, but Tanna has held his conditioning quite well over the winter. He's an active horse and enjoys playing on the hill in the pasture. I haven't ridden him much since the NC, the longest ride being 18 miles a couple weeks ago. I do pony him often when I'm working with Serts. I also go slow and steady; the only top tens I have are when less than 10 riders finish. ;-D So Tanna doesn't have to be in tip-top speed racing shape to go to a ride, just needs to trot along and take it easy.

See you at Chicken Chase! Looking forward to getting back on trail again. My training rides this month have all been from the house. Saves on gas and time, but it sure is boring!

All Who Wander said...

I hear you on the boring home rides...that's what I'm doing and why I'm doing it. GAS I'm lucky that I have a five mile loop in my back yard with a bunch of hills. We don't get up any speed out there, but I figure the hills are good for building stength and wind.

Your style of riding is type I respect the most. Your horse will have longevity and isn't that what endurance is about?

I've ridden my girl all winter this year, but the farthest we've gone is 20 miles.

Be sure & introduce yourself at C.C. This will be my first time there and my horses first anywhere. I'll be the "old" gal with the "old" trailer, and the young horse :)

I'm loving finding all these endurance blogs! ~E.G.