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Anne Dickens
Posted on Sunday, 31 January, 2010 - 9:20 pm:   

Hello All
I confess I don't know how far a marathon is (we have only done a few Inside Outs) but I got another 11.1hh to make a pair so as to do a gold carriage dog trial with my Dalmatians. This is 40km (25 miles) and the course we have used for the past couple of years is very challenging indeed, with some steep and long ups and downs. We did train hard for it this summer (though difficult to find the hills where I am) but another successful gold competitor drove a single 11.1hh with no problem.
Mind you, the timings are generous, as it's the dogs that are timed not the horses, so perhaps that makes it easier?
I think that with any endurance event, provided the animals are carefully prepared, they should be OK.
Anne
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Guest
Posted on Sunday, 17 January, 2010 - 9:00 pm:   

Thanks Linda, we have met brownie and Blackie and Mike and they have met Mable and Nadia. I had better get some chocolate biscuits and lemonade ready for our new spotty boy when he is ready then!
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Linda Rose
Posted on Sunday, 17 January, 2010 - 12:09 pm:   

Like you, Nicolette, we had concerns about doing full marathons with Brownie, our 10hh Shetland. Goodness knows why ..! In 2008, he won his class at Escrick Junior Champs, with Mike Hodgson driving. Inspired by that in 2009, with a fitness plan that got him as fit as we possibly could, he carried Mike and me (backstep) to Novice Qualifier victories at both Mostyn and Escrick to earn his place at the National Championships at Windsor where he put in another fantastic performance and finished a very creditable 7th. After all marathons, his heart rate and breathing have been back to normal in 10- 15 minutes provided, that is, that he gets his drink of lemonade and a chocolate digestive! Brownie is a special little guy and I know not many Shetlands have his courage, strength and stamina but know your pony, he/she will tell you if they are capable. We started at club events, picking the less hilly venues, and went on from there. He easily makes the A and E times, in fact hes sometimes too fast! The only bit he struggles with is the walk section where at National level there is no small pony allowance oh for longer legs! With lots of practice we have improved this phase and with the right combination of conditions we have been able to get inside the time, but it is not easy. Having said that, lots of bigger ponies cant manage the walk time either. Good luck and if you want to do it and you think your pony is up for it, then go for it - live for the moment. Linda Rose
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Guest
Posted on Sunday, 17 January, 2010 - 8:05 am:   

Thankyou everyone for your great advice, I agree the welfare of the pony is always priority! We do outdoor trials with the shetland at Blandings, where there is a shetland class as she doesn't do the full marathon and our little pony thinks it is the best fun and does very well against the bigger ponies. Well we will see how the other one turns out as we haven't broken him yet, our spring project! The older daughter wants to drive too and her unltimate aim is to have him as a pair. Nicolette
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Julia Liles
Posted on Saturday, 16 January, 2010 - 10:23 pm:   

Many years ago we drove a team of little Shetlands in National events but always had to go HC because we were expected to pull a 300kg carriage with two grooms on board which would have been way too much for them. Carriage weights would probably not be a factor at club level but personally I think having a mate alongside to share the work is much fairer on the little people. A pair of Shetlands could cope with most marathons if they have been prepared. Julia Liles
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Frances Collings
Posted on Saturday, 16 January, 2010 - 2:43 pm:   

Although I now drive a horse for many years I drove an 11 hand pony and what a cracking pony.
He took me over the Brighton Downs and to many National Events and always placed. In 1992 we qualified for the National Championships and to our delight we were runners up in the Novice Class. When we lost him it took years to find a pony we would have so much fun with. Fortunately we have now Lizzie who is a Welsh Section D who is just a horse and has the zest for life that the little Welsh Section A had who we nicknamed 'Tank'!
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Rita Bundock
Posted on Saturday, 16 January, 2010 - 11:34 am:   

Many years ago, when a marathon really was a marathon, 20 - 25k over all sorts of terrain, Sue Jackson drove her pair of small Shetlands at all the National events. They were very fast and really needed beating, few managed it! They were super fit as any small pony must be to compete against larger ponies.

So do not be put off competing with small ponies, many events have small pony classes with a shorter marathon with reduced speeds that do help those short legs. Just look at the schedule for each event and decided if the venue (hilly area etc.,) distance/speed of marathon is suitable for your pony.
If it all goes pear shaped - don't blame the organisers of the event. It is your pony and your call if to complete the marathon if your pony finds it too tough, there is no disgrace in retiring from a marathon. Horse/pony welfare is far more important - but sadly some competitors do not seem to realise that and push on until the finish with totally exhausted animals.

Get that small pony really fit and go for it but remember it is the drivers call.
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Guest
Posted on Saturday, 16 January, 2010 - 7:52 am:   

Hi everyone, a little advice please. If your small pony is very fit can it do a full marathon? (I am talking 10.3hh), or is it just not fair? We don't ask it of our 9h2 shetland, although if asked she would do anything but I wondered if the next size up was still too small? If too small singly, what about as a pair? Do any of you small pony drivers do outdoor trials? Many thanks nicolette

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