I’ve heard many different opinions about how to tell when your horse is ready for a 25 mile ride. One guy says any healthy, sound horse who lives on pasture 24/7 and gets moderate exercise can safely do a 25. Other people have a mileage formula. A certain mileage in a certain amount of time equals a fit horse. Another rider told me if you’re regularly riding 12 miles a week, you’ll be fine.
As to which of those is most correct, I have no idea, but I’m going to do my best to have my horse as fit as possible for her first ride. My goal is 12 miles per week. I’m about to move to a new barn on an old country road. The area doesn’t have a ton of traffic and the shoulder is wide, so I can ride safely on the road and get decent mileage in.
Heidi is barn sour, and although she is improving, it still may be something I have to work on with her to get her to go out alone. That is my big goal for her, to be a horse that goes out alone with no problem. I don’t have a ton of time to ride, so I need to be able to get on and go.
Now that I have a truck and trailer, I’ll be able to go off property and ride as well, but only once a week because I have kids, job, responsibilities, etc… I’ll have to ride on my own during the week to get the conditioning miles in. Between a longer weekend ride with friends and a couple shorter solo rides during the week, I think 12 miles is a reasonable goal.
I want to get in better shape, so I may walk Heidi out and then ride her back to the barn. In the past, that has helped her with the barn sour thing. It gives me some exercise and avoids the fight about leaving the barn. I don’t want to do that forever, but I’m willing to do it for a while to help ease her anxiety.
So that’s my plan. Start with a goal of 12 miles per week, mostly walking, and go up from there. I’ll keep you posted!