Wednesday, June 11, 2014

100 Miles Is 100 Miles Is 100 Miles

Wednesday June 11 2014

What is a 100-mile endurance ride? It's one long day (and often night) in the saddle: a challenge of partnership, endurance, perseverance, and focus. It's overcoming fatigue, keeping your horse's enthusiasm up when his energy flags, and perking up your own attitude when you'd rather be dozing off as your awesome horse pulls you along. It's paying close attention to your horse all day (and often night), listening to his body and feeling his motion and attitude.

It's managing his water and food intake all day (and often night), and monitoring his recoveries. It's judging pace and strength all day (and often night), judging the climate and terrain and fitting that to your partner's needs, rationing out the gas to last all day (and night). It's finishing a ride with a sound horse after 12, 18, or up to 24 hours in the saddle, with only the vet checks for rest. It's the ultimate distance challenge in endurance riding.

Just as a 50 mile ride is different from a limited distance ride and requires more awareness, concentration, and management of your equine partner than a limited distance ride, so too is a 100 mile ride different from a 50 mile ride, and requires more awareness, concentration and management of your equine partner than a 50.

I recently started noticing the "2-day 100" mile rides.They've been around a while; I only just started noticing and thinking about them. If I'm correct in this, a horse and rider who completes a 2-day 100 gets credit for a 100-mile ride on their record, i.e. if you finish the two 50-mile rides both days, you have completed a 100-mile ride. (If you pull on the second day, you don't get any mileage completion).

Say I have an endurance horse that only does 50's - I am thinking of one particular horse I have ridden. He could do a couple of 50-mile rides in a row at a multi-day, but I knew he was not the 100-mile type. He wasn't built or bred for it; 'things' started to add up after a couple days in a row (leg fillings, longer time to recover at vet checks, fatigue) and it wasn't in his best interest to ride any more or any further. I've ridden enough different horses to know he was just not a 100-mile horse. He was not made for it; and why would I try to force one out of him to prove a point?

So, say I took this horse to several 2-day 100-mile rides, and we completed them. I would then have a 50-mile-only horse who showed 3 100-mile completions on his record. Deceiving, isn't it? I know it wouldn't be technically correct, because I knew I wouldn't compete on this horse in a 1-day 100 mile ride. If I did complete a 1-day 100-mile ride on this horse, I would sure want that accomplishment acknowledged on his record among the 2-day 100s.

I don't think that showing a 2-day 100 as a "100-mile completion" on the mileage records is fair to horses and riders who do complete a 'real' 100. Two 50's in a row do not equal a 100-mile ride. The riding and pace is different. The skills of managing the horse is different. The rest and recovery time between miles 50 and 51 are completely different. The two events are not comparable.

You don't get credit for 50 miles in a 1-day 100 if you only make it that far, and you don't get credit for 75 miles if you elevate to a 100 but don't complete the 100. In a 2-day 100, if you don't complete day 2's 50 miles, you don't get credit for day 1's 50. That's fair, but it still doesn't mean you rode a '100-mile ride'.  If completing a 2-day 100 is equal to completing a 1-day 100, then every multi-day ride could be offered as a 100 mile ride (or two, in the case of 4 days!)

I'm curious: what is the rationale behind a 2-day 100 equalling a 1-day 100 on mileage records? Perhaps its purpose is to encourage riders to start thinking with the mindset of trying a 1-day 100. Or perhaps it's a benefit for ride managers to offer this option. Maybe it's a different kind of challenge, along the lines of the 5-day Shahzada in Australia where you must finish all 5 days to get a completion. Maybe it has something to do with points. Maybe it's not important anyway in which column the miles show up.

But is a 2-day 100 equal to a 1-day 100?

In My Opinion, it isn't. Not at all.


Robin Drechsler said...

I agree- I have done several multi day rides on my "turtle" horse. I have never done a 100 mile ride myself and do not think we would be successful without much more training and conditioning. The overnight rest is essential for both of us at this point! I also agree that I would not want "2-day 100 miles" counted on my record just in case I ever do the real thing. Robin Drechsler said...

I agree -- plus, if they are going to bother separating doing two 50's in a row they should separate the horses that have done 3, 4, and 5 days in a row. Doing only 2 in a row is just getting them warmed up! :)

Unknown said...

I totally agree with you. I have done one-day 100s and i have done back to back 50s (which, had they been sanctioned as such, would have counted as a 2-day 100). They are not even close to the same...for the horse or rider. Not physically and not mentally. For that reason I will never enter a 2-day 100. I want all 100 mile rides on my and my horses' records to be real 100s, not simply two 50s in a row that happened to sanctioned differently. I would prefer that 2-day 100s be listed separately in ride records from one-day 100s.

Unknown said...

We don't have rides like this here in the NE (at least not yet) but if we did I'd want them to count as a 2 day 100 (akin to a 3 day 100 in CTR land) NOT as 'just' 100 miles. I know that personally I may not ever get to the point where I can do 100 miles in a day but I can probably do back to back 50s. However, saying that's equivalent to a one day 100 is not possible.


Kristine Hartman said...

Hi Merri, long time no see! As you know Mike and I were relocated due to a forced job transfer from Auburn California area to Des Moines Iowa in November 2010. We are now in our 4th season of being In the Mid-West Region and also members of UMECRA. Since you know me, I know that you are aware that I know what a "real" 100 miles in ONE DAY ride is as I have completed many Tevis and Virginia City 100 miles rides. I would hope that looking at my record, my horses show those 100 mile completions and one would know those are for the true 100/ One day events. We arrived here in Iowa and went to our first ride ever in the mid-west, the SE Minnesota ride in June 2011. Mike and I signed up for the 55 mile ride. Along side of us were riders that said they were doing a 110 mile ride. We went wow, you are starting a bit late as usually out in the West Region we started these at 5:00AM and need to finish by 5:00AM tomorrow morning. Then we learned...nope they get to ride this 55 and the second day 55 and if they finish both...yep! they GET CREDIT FOR 110 MILES!! They and their horses record will show it as a 100 mile one day ride! And a BC if won. Ummmmm, NO! Anyway, we have kept our mouth closed, wore my Tevis and VC 100 buckles VERY proudly and continue on here in the MW. I never respond to these blogs/articles as I know we all get flamed for speaking our own humble opinions but this one gets me to the core. Thank you so much Merri for bringing this to the forefront. I am actually amazed that AERC allows these to show as nothing more than a multi-day 50 or in this case a two day 55. Funny as we go from this same ride in June 2013 where again we rode a one day 55 mile event and on to the Endless Valley ride in Wisconsin in July where both Mike and I completed the two days of 50 mile rides. We sure did not ride these two days thinking we were riding a 100 mile event and expect to have our records show it as a 100 mile ride as that is not what it was. Interesting that in the same region they have such different sanctioning, in these cases.
There you have it, a West Region rider temporarily in the Mid-West seeing things done way differently. BTW, we will be back in the West in 2015! Yippee. See you then, Kristine Hartman

Anonymous said...

NO way 2 day 100 same as a one day 100/ said...

I only realized this was the case recently when looking at the record of a person who has proven incapable of finishing one day 100's. I saw a 100 on the record and then saw it was a 2 day. NO WAY that should count. This is a totally obsolete rule that may have seemed like a good idea when people were just figuring the sport out, but 2 50's is NOT a 100 and should never count as one!!