Twelve year old Laura Miranda and her barefoot pure Morgan pony, Indigo Roc the Boat (aka Rocky) completed their first endurance training ride at New Italy, NSW in September. It was 40km.
Rocky was already in medium work doing dressage training and trail riding in the Anstead, Queensland bushland, which is quite hilly.
Laura met Laura Axsentieff, who rode Diane Howard’s pure Morgan mare Rikki (Fox Brush Custom Design) to complete the Quilty this year, at EKKA (August 2013) when they were there to support the MHAA in the 10 Days of Breed Expo. Laura A told Laura M that a horse in medium work could do 40km without much additional training (or shoes, in the case of a barefoot horse).
Young Laura was inspired and decided that she and Rocky were up for the challenge of Endurance. She loved to spend time on her Morgan so the training began, with much support from her family.
To avoid rubs, existing tack was used along with a breastplate. Rocky’s workouts were increased and grain was added to his previously all grass diet. Laura and Rocky completed a 20km ride at home to prepare for that first event.
Rocky was more than up to the task. In fact, Laura had to slow Rocky to a walk for the last 12km of that first endurance ride in order to complete the ride in the minimum time allowed – just over 3 hours.
The Vets were quite surprised that Rocky was barefoot, saying that most horses would vet out lame if they attempted a 40km without shoes. Rocky achieved all A’s at the vet check. A very happy Laura was now hooked on this demanding sport, which so suited this partnership.
Rocky had been without a rug all winter, so his heavy winter coat was clipped in preparation for the next 40km at Wiangaree, NSW, in early October. Laura and Rocky put in more time in the arena and continued with their 20km rides at home. Ride day proved to be extremely hot, and the trail was undulating, so Rocky’s thick full Morgan mane was braided and he was given electrolyte paste. This awesome pair completed their second training ride with ease.
In support of Laura’s new quest to take on Endurance as a sport, the family attended an education and training workshop sponsored by Far A Way Endurance Riders Association in Imbil, Queensland. The focus was on training, strapping and feeding, presented by 7-time Quilty winner Brooke Sample and Australia’s leading endurance veterinarian Dr. Brian Sheahan.
Rocky was allocated his blue novice logbook after the successful completion of the two training rides so Laura nominated for the last ride of the season in November, the MacKinder Endurance Australian FEI Championships – 90km.
Novice horses/riders ride with the FEI and open AERA riders in the 90km, but are restricted to a novice pace. Laura started out riding with another girl on a young horse, and they mostly trotted on the first leg. They did the second leg at a moderate pace as well, but by the last leg the sky was looking ominous and Laura decided that she and Rocky would canter that leg to get back quickly.
They joined some FEI riders who were on the same leg, and all rode the last half hour together through a heavy downpour accompanied with much thunder and lightening. Neither rain, nor the thunder and lightening worried Rocky or Laura one iota.
The ride organizers had lost contact with the checkpoint officials in the storm, so a search vehicle was sent out for twelve year old Laura and Rocky. In the meantime, an exhilarated Laura rode up to the 90km finish line saying it was the absolute best leg of the ride!
Rocky was barefoot and vetted sound through the last vet check.
What an inspiration this young girl is!! To decide in August that she might like to try endurance with her Morgan and a short three months later complete a 90km ride with ease is something to be applauded. Laura’s grit, stamina, determination, commitment and enthusiasm are equally matched in her awesome pure Morgan pony, Rocky, who has a work ethic to be admired. This amazing pair will no doubt complete a Quilty, one day.
Endurance – To complete is to win