Frank T. Hopkins, Amerikaanse endurancelegende

Als je graag film kijkt, mag je zeker de film HIDALGO niet missen. Het gaat over het waargebeurde verhaal van ex-postbode te paard en endurancerider Frank T. Hopkins en een van zijn beroemste paarden Hidalgo. Dit paard versloeg tegen alle wetten der natuur in als Amerikaanse Mustang de beste Volbloed Arabieren ter wereld tijdens de zware 3000 mijl woestijnrace "Ocean of Fire". Niet alleen het zand en de hitte, maar ook de levensgevaarlijke concurrentiestrijd staan centraal in deze film. Op de volgende sites vind je trailers en andere leuke info over deze prachtige film:

Reden om eens een kijkje te nemen naar echte Frank T. Hopkins, de legendarische man die dingen presteerde waar wij niet van durven dromen... In die tijd waren de afstanden niet zo mild als nu. Waar we nu de langste afstand hebben van 100 mijl, reden ze die toen dagelijks. De raceafstanden waren vaak 3000 tot 5000 mijl. Duizenden kilometers dus. Niet de snelste won, maar degene die de beste overlevingskansen had. Survivors dus. Op zijn eigen site staat leuke info over die tijd:

Onderstaand atikel komt van die site en bevat erg nuttige info, ook voor deze tijd. Het is natuurlijk info bedoeld voor races in de vorige eeuw, dus al te letterlijk kun je het niet nemen. De afstanden zijn natuurlijk aan te passen. Maar zijn visie is heel helder. Rechtlijnig ook: "Als je van nature geen horsemanship hebt, kun je geen endurance gaan rijden, want je kunt het niét leren..." De rest van de site is ook erg leuk en de moeite waard. Het artikel is engelstalig, maar misschien vertalen we het nog wel een keer. Veel plezier alvast en ga zeker de film kijken. Bespaar geen geld en koop hem op DVD, want de prachtige opnames komen dan beter tot hun recht!

Training Endurance Horses by Frank T. Hopkins

There are things to remember in training an endurance horse. First of all, don't let anyone give you advice - if you are not a horseman enough to know your mount, don't enter a distance race. Remember, all horses cannot be put in condition on the same amount of weighed feed. It is better to forget weighing - watch your horses' condition and feed him accordingly. It's the duty of any good endurance rider to care for his horse himself, also his duty to bring his horse in well cooled and at the end of each day, so the rider don't have to spend time cooling the horse where his mount should be resting. One of the things an endurance horse needs most is - - rest. A horse who requires false courage, such as giving him stimulants of whiskey or anything of the sort is not a fit horse to ride in an endurance race.
Stopping a horse for 2 or 3 hours to rest is a very bad thing on a long ride you will find after a rest of any length of time your mount will lag and get weary. If your horse has been well trained and put in condition for such a ride it is duty of the rider to dry his horse out on the last week or few days of the training, so the horse will not crave to much water when he is put to the hard work of the long travel of the race. Don't speak to your horse unless it is necessary or shift about in the saddle, for those subtle things really fret your horse more than anything else. Be sure you have the right agreement before you start to train - that the road you are to cover is marked so every rider must cover every foot of the ground: leave the compass and foolish things at home - they're only extra weight. If the road is marked every mile or two and at the parting of tracks or where roads
cross or turn off, then each rider can go along without delay. Bright red paint daubed on trees, stones or fences, makes good marking. If the land is clear of these things, then stick a small stake on the ground and paint the top red. If you don't have this agreement signed, some rider may cut across country and make miles on you. If your horse seems tired at night, get him to rest as soon as possible; don't keep him on his feet, rubbing and fooling with him. I always taught my horses to lie down by the command "lay down". Once they were down they would not get on their feet again but would rest.
One more thing I always had signed - that is if I rode in a race and my horse came in first, there was no way of "gyping" me out of the money by claiming my horse was not sound at the time he finished the race or the next day. This thing of a horses' soundness is indeed queer. I've seen horses declared not sound by one veterinary and in just three hours afterwards declared perfectly sound by another vet. There is this question of points in a long ride. Now this is the only point that could exist in any ride that I would sign on and pay my entrance for. Here it is: if I cross the line
first, I have won, if not, I have lost, this thing of barring a rider from continuing in the ride because his horse appears tired, is all foolish. If a horse is not in condition to carry his rider, the quirt or spur will not keep the horse going. Your mount will slow up - that is, if he has not the ability to push on. Rider will soon see he is not making any time and he is playing a loser's hand. Rider will give it up and pull out of the race without being told by the judge. I've ridden many an endurance ride and must say my horses were tired at the end of each day - I was tired too. Any man
who rides for ten hours will get tired, but with a good night's rest, both man and horse will feel fresh in the morning - that is, if both of them have been put in condition, for the ride. If there were two or three endurance rides held every year, and they'd allow any one to enter with a reasonable entrance fee to make it a worth while purse and have these rides run thru without so much red tape, there'd be a lot of rider's and horsemen interested and a great chance to find out the best type of horse for endurance. Let every entrant train his own horse to suit himself alone the
entrant to ride in any style he chose and allow riders to ride any size horse he brings along. The only rules he must live up to are that every rider must ride one horse all the way and that the hours should not be over 10 out of 24. Each rider must ride these 10 hours at the same, for if the day is warm some of the riders may want to ride at night and in order to be fair to the other riders; let e'm all ride at the same time. Here is a tip from an old timer - train your horse away from the other contestants - don't let anyone know you are training; for a race, always be a lone wolf, watch your horse as you train him, it's most likely that the horse you think will
win for you will be the first who will go to pieces, but don't let your courage go with him.

Try one in your string who is lazy and sleepy but close to the ground. A horse who has no style or extra action only to put one foot before the other, a horse that will go along all day without worry, it's likely no one likes this type of horse; they'll tell you he's good for nothing but I'll tell you this describes a real endurance horse. There's a little yellow stallion lying beneath the soil of old Fort Laramie, Wyoming who never weighed over 800 lbs - often less, I've seen many rides in many lands and many different classes of horses in these races; I've read of long rides that were within the law and outlaw rides, but that little stallion was the greatest endurance horse that ever lived and I was his proud owner. He was a horse I caught wild in the Shoshone Valley; to me he was like his color - a golden hoss. Horseman then and today would not give $25.00 for him: he was lazy, his back was short without the least rise at the withers. He was very meaty in the hind quarters. He won five hard long rides for me - one across country from Texas to Vermont, the others were not easy rides. Riders don't pick style and action in your endurance horse, choose one who after he is trained can carry you fifty miles every day for two weeks - then you need not fear any of those long - legged narrow built, top heavy horses of today.

If you have been successful in training one endurance horse, don't think you can use the same methods in putting the next horse in condition for the same hard riding for I have not found two horses that can be conditioned in the same way. You'll have to watch and correct the least mistake in time (not wait till too late) and you cannot depend on training one horse twice in the same way. Your horse might harden to his training the first time very easily; a year later you might try to put him in shape for a long ride and find it all different from the previous training, tho the horse may have more ability than before after he has gotten in condition

I've learned that most horses are better on endurance rides after they are seven years old. I recall a horse I raised out of proven endurance stock. When he was five years old I started to put him in shape for a 500 mile ride. Although I began easy with him, the horse could not stand up under the training. I noticed this in less than a week. The horse was turned over to his old rider who rode him nearly every day, cutting cattle. When this horse was 15 years old I heard riders telling how tough the little stallion was, so I took him in hand and soon found he could pound the road from daybreak till dark. I rode him in one of the hardest rides of my career, this horse was as tough as they came, yet he could not stand easy training when he was
5 years old; the same horse won a 250 mile race when he was 20 years old so you can't tell by looking at them what they can do; but if you pick one who hasn't too much daylight under his belly, a horse with a short neck well set back on his shoulders so his head hanging out there at the end of their neck will not tire him too much like it does those long slim - necked horses, then you're coming nearer to a horse who might be a real endurance horse; still, there's only one thing that will prove it, and that is the training. If the horse shows the least signs of weakening, don't fuss with him trying to patch him up by bandaging his tendons and other foolish things, for if the horses' running gear can't carry him the horse is not sound nor fit for that kind of work. You are only putting in your time for nothing. I've seen
a lot of that kind of horsemanship but there's really nothing to it.