Here we are, after the 100 mile ride at Fort St John, B.C., where we achieved our CoC (certificate of capability) to represent Canada at WEG (World Equestrian Games), having a much needed rest.
It’s been a very busy time. First a two-day trip to Manitoba, competing for two days (50 miles/day), then two days trip home, eight days at home, then another two-day trip to B.C., completing the 100 mile, then another two-day trip home take their toll on both Sam and me.
Normally, I would allow for an additional week’s rest in between two trips like this, but we had to complete the FEI 100 mile to qualify, and with spring training being so sporadic, my original ride schedule was thrown out the window and modified several times.
What a lot of people don’t realize is just how hard that much travel is on the horse. There is a general rule of thumb that an hour in the trailer is like the horse walking for 10 miles. If you do the math on the travel and miles of racing that we completed, Sam did almost 800 miles in that three-week period.
The FEI rules govern that after completing a 100 mile race, there is an enforced rest period of 33 days for the horse from competition. For me, this means at least two weeks of Sam just running around the paddock with his companions. I have actually let him run around for over three weeks now as this was such a tough stint. Although he finished fit and healthy, it is great to have a mental break and regain some of the weight lost during competition.
Now I am looking at doing a few light rides (weather permitting!) before we head out next week to go to Wyoming to do a couple of faster back to back 50 miles. I have been to this ride before and chose it as it is predominantly a flat ride (one hill that I remember). I believe the terrain in France is fairly flat with some rolling hills, so all the rides I am looking at are in preparation for that terrain. Sam has the core muscle for hills from many rides in which he has developed that strength. The goal now is to enhance or tweak his cardio vascular system for the faster speed.
The rest period also allowed me the time to get the vet to do all three of my horses’ shots for the year and check Sam’s teeth. Have to make sure everything is good to go for France. Ironically, the day after the vet came, I received the email from Endurance Canada asking us to get a pre-purchase vet examination before they announce the list of the team selected to go to France! So, I booked the vet AGAIN. It was kind of handy as I had forgotten to get the vet to take blood from Sam for the health certificate he needs to go to Wyoming. He already has his Coggins, which is good for six months, so it is only the health certificate every time we travel across the border.
We do have a local ride in Alberta this weekend, which is very tempting to go to. It is one I always enjoy. It is put on by a local rider, Christy Janzen, in memory of her late husband who was instrumental in helping her become the calibre of international rider she is. The Ron Janzen Memorial ride just has a few too many hills in it for what I believe we need to do. I am trying to organize going to volunteer instead and help out that way.
The next time I post will be after Wyoming! By then, we should have confirmed team selection by Endurance Canada and be well on our way to organizing everything we need to do to go to France. Wish us luck!