Weight Division: MW
I grew up in a suburb of Los Angeles. I loved watching Roy Rogers, Zorro, The Lone Ranger and the other western stars. There was a guy there who brought his rental horse string down from the Sierras for the winter and kept them in a field about 1/2 mile from our house. That field is all 3 story apartment buildings now of course. He used to charge 50 cents per hour and 75 cents to ride on a weekday afternoon. I would mow lawns, clean garages etc to get money to go there after school and mess with the horses. Of course that was mostly just walking around a dusty 10 acre field. Then we went on vacation to Yosemite and took a trail ride outside the park. On the way back to the barn, the horses all started running to get home. My parents were terrified, but I thought it was the most fun thing that I had ever done ( obviously this was pre-puberty). This was like Roy and The Lone Ranger type riding. Years later after owning horses and doing lots of trail riding I was introduced to endurance.
As a fairly new rider, to this sport, I only have completed 310 miles of Endurance, and 320 miles of LD. All but 100 LD miles have been on my horse KMA Chazz Piper. He is a 10 year old , 14.2 tall failed hunter jumper show horse Arabian Gelding. He weighs about 825 pounds when full. Size 00 shoes in front and 000 in the back give him the nickname "Twinkle toes". Of his 825 pounds, probably 500 is heart, and 200 is brains. This doesn't leave much weight left for other parts, but he doesn't seem to need it. We do not race, but have completed very well in the rides we do with 4 BC's in 14 rides . We usually finish in the top 5 or 10 if the ride has technical trails. He goes pretty much at the same speed over rocky single track as he does wide open groomed trails. He is competitive, but quickly settles back down after a horse has passed us. The thing I really love about him is that he doesn't fight to go faster until he passes a horse, then immediately slow down. He just keeps a steady pace.
We have used a little S hackamore since we started, but now we start the ride with a little S hackamore for the first loop, and then usually switch to a regular nylon halter with reins clipped on for the rest of the day. He is the bravest horse I have ever had the pleasure to be on. He goes as boldly when alone as he does with a herd leading the way. (I can tell you about him leading the lead horses past Buford the Enraged Bison Bull at LBL last year if you want). He drinks very well on trail, and takes good care of himself on tough trail sections. I do get off him to tail up steep hils and jog alongside him down steep hills.
One special thing we do relates to me being a lazy person. I wanted to keep the trot outs at the vet checks as simple as possible. He didn't do great last year in this, as I would be pulling on his headgear to trot out, and he would pull back on the pressure to stop. So over the winter we worked on this ,and now he trots at liberty next to me. I don't have to hold his reins or anything.
I just clap my hands, snap my fingers and take off jogging to the trot out flag. He follows along (so far).
We used a Tucker saddle last year, but at the end of the season, as his body changed, I saw fitting issues. We bought a Specialized Saddle International model this winter, (off Endurance.net classifieds) and it has done very well so far this year. One of my goals from last year was to actually tack out as a middle weight at a ride, like my AERC card says I am. Last year I tacked out between 215 and 225. So by changing saddles,quitting soda pops, and exercising, At City Slicker, I tacked out at 197. The hope is to get that down to 190 by Biltmore.
This will be my first 100 mile ride. If it goes well, We are wanting to do the Old Dominion and Tevis this year too. By doing well, I mean that we are looking for a ride time of around 14-15 hours. So the odds of us winning this Derby are in the 1000-1 range. Odds of top tenning are slightly better, but with all the FEI hotshots that will be riding, our top 10 chances there still pretty darned slim. (100-1?). When I get there and see the terrain, I may alter my ride time estimate somewhat. But in any case, I will not push him. He rides at his own rythmn, and my job is to take care of him in that tempo and make sure he does not get caught up in the testosterone of racing.
Oh that leads to what we do for a living. Realtor/Investors, in South west Missouri (The Ozarks)trying to semi-retire this year. I am 57 years young. My wife is a wonderfull woman who thinks I am crazy to want to do this sport, but accepts it just fine. She does a little crewing for me when I need it. (I ususally go crewless)