Sue’s tips for any­one con­sid­er­ing the cav­al­cade

NZ Lifestyle Block - - Feature -

• Think about do­ing it as a group, or even as a once-in-a-life­time fam­ily ride – it's great to see younger rid­ers come and have a mem­o­rable time.

• Be sure of your horse – it may be ok on its own but in a group of 50 it may get ex­cited and jig­gle for seven or more hours. “That's hard on the bum,” says Sue.

• Try shorter week­end rides first with large groups and see how you go.

• If you're ner­vous on the first day, hang out the back with the wran­glers. They give good ad­vice, their horses are qui­eter, and if you get stuck, they pro­vide a steady hand.

• Pick the trail that's right for you as some are eas­ier, oth­ers tougher.

• Get ride-fit. It's im­por­tant, says Sue, be­cause spend­ing seven or more hours in the sad­dle is tiring and you don't want to miss out on the evening fun. Her train­ing regime in­cludes a lot of walk­ing and gym work.

• Fit­ness of a cav­al­cade horse is im­por­tant too. In 2017, Sue bor­rowed friend Jac­qui Par­son's 22-year-young ap­paloosa, Mu­sic.

“He's the tough­est lit­tle moun­tain goat around,” says Sue, but she still worked on his fit­ness. She started rid­ing him six weeks out, one or two 2.5-hour rides and one 4-hour ride a week on hills on the Par­son's prop­erty.

“As they get fit­ter, the hills get steeper which gets their lung ca­pac­ity up and strength­ens their backs."

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