This past weekend, I had the opportunity to attend an Endurance 101 clinic at Fletcher’s Horse World in Waterford. The clinic was organized by some members of the Ontario Competitive Trail Riding Association (OCTRA) who wanted to provide those who were interested in the sport of endurance and distance riding the chance to learn more about the sport, ask questions, and meet people involved in the discipline. Roughly 25 eager participants attended the one day clinic which covered topics ranging from nutrition and electrolytes to conditioning and tack. Speakers included OCTRA members Deanna Ramsay and Sue and Mike Downing. The morning half of the clinic consisted of classroom learning where the different disciplines within OCTRA were discussed as well as competition rules. Many questions were asked and answered regarding the importance of electrolytes, conditioning schedules, and what to expect at a ride. Taylor Beckett, a distributor for the Nurtural bitless bridle brought a selection of bridles to demonstrate with and lead a discussion regarding their use and benefits. Susan Aldis also stopped by with a wide selection of Easy Boots and provided lots of information (and some pretty funny stories!)
The afternoon involved some hands on practice with the horses (who were very good sports for never having done anything like this before!). How to trot out and present your horse for the vet was demonstrated and participants got the chance to practice for themselves. Lay judge Deanna Ramsay demonstrated the procedure for what happens at the parameter checks and participants practiced listening to heart beats and gut sounds with a stethoscope.
I would recommend attending one of these clinics for anyone, whether you are interested in getting into the sport of distance riding/endurance, a pleasure trail rider or someone wishing to hone their horsemanship skills as many things learned here can be applied to many facets of the horse industry. Anyone interested in learning more about distance riding and endurance is encouraged to check out the OCTRA website at http://www.octra.on.ca/