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Top 100 Mile Rider Interviews

Rider Name:   Suzanne Hayes           

Age that you did your first 100 at:  18 years old

How is your 100 mile conditioning program different from your 50 mile
conditioning program?   I don't ride my horses on 100's till they are 7 years old, so my conditioning is just a continuation of their training from the age of 5.  Each year I tend to introduce more speed and distance.

Describe your feeding program, before during and after a 100:  I feed a good quality grass hay (with 10% alfalfa), Purina grains, beet pulp, & Vits.  During a 100 I will give them a variety of all of the above.  It seems most of my horses really like soaked Complete Advantage and hay the best.

What kind (if any) supplements have you used -- do you think they made a difference?  Throughout my many years in endurance riding I have tried lots of supplements.  There is no noticeable difference in most of them, but it certainly makes you feel like you have your bases covered if you use them logically in your feeding program.  I do have to say though that Platinum Performance is my preferred supplement and it does seem to make a difference in hair/coat quality as well as perhaps an increase in energy level.

How close to the 100 mile ride do you do your last conditioning ride?
Last 50 mile ride?  The last conditioning ride is a week or 10 days before a competition.  The last conditioning benefit a horse receives is 2 weeks previous so I don't get too aggressive from then on.  The rest of the time before the ride I do just a couple of "warm-up" rides.  I have done back to back 100's and 50's but don't any longer.  I normally do a ride a month and it can be either a 50 or 100.

How do you prepare yourself for a 100 mile ride?  Over what period of
time?  I don't necessarily do anything special to prepare myself for a 100.

How do you know or feel that the time is right to do a 100 on your horse for the first time?  I normally wait till it is the 3rd year of a horse's endurance career but have had horses that are ready before that.

How do you handle riding in the dark? Glowsticks on your tack or not?  Headlamps, flashlights (describe).  Do you have a preference on color of glowstick?  The only light I use are glowsticks attached to the breastcollar.  I will carry a mag flashlight but only for double-checking corners or to verify trail ribbons.  No preference on the color.  Guess I tend to have access to the green ones.

How do you and your horse feel at different points in the ride?  What are the "low" spots and how do you handle them?  Since 100's are by far my ride of choice, I don't necessarily have very many low spots.  Guess that maybe would apply though if I was having some kind of a problem with my horse, then the miles tend to go very slowly!

Is your post ride horse care any different than a 50 mile ride?  No, I am very particular on how my horse is handled after any ride, doesn't matter the distance. 

Any advice to first time 100 mile riders on post ride rider-recovery?  Enjoy every ache and pain, you earned it!!  Isn't it great to be able to tell everyone in your "real life", Yea, I rode 100 miles last weekend!

What kinds of food and drink do you like on a 100?  Powerade, bananas, yogurt.

What are your recommendations for someone attempting their first 100
miler?  Ride with a mentor or someone experienced.  Have your horse in shape!  There is no reason to HAVE to take 24 hours to finish a 100, unless that is your goal.

How often do you electrolyte on a 100 mile ride? How about pre-ride or
post-ride electrolyting?  I electrolyte the night before, the morning of, then every 1 to 1/2hours throughout the ride.  I normally do not give any after the end of the ride unless I think the horse needs it.  The main reason I don't is because the electrolytes do irritate their mouth and throat (no matter how much or diligent you are about rinsing) to a degree and I just don't want to annoy them anymore.

How many 50 mile rides would you do on a horse prior to doing his first
100 miler? Over what period of time?  I normally ride horses on 100's after 3 years of endurance training.  It doesn't matter to me how many 50's they have done, just the previous training.

What is your most memorable experience on a 100 miler?  Probably the Tevis in 1972.  It was my first endurance ride and first 100 and I had just turned 18 so I didn't have to ride with a sponsor.  I finished 50th and in the middle of the night.  Wore Wrangle jeans, black rubber knee-high jodpur boots, and an old flat English saddle.

What is the funniest thing that has happened to you on a 100?  See above (in a grim sort of way…..)

What is your favorite 100 mile ride and why?  The Tevis is my favorite ride because it takes strategy, a good horse, and a lot of luck to be able to do well there.

What do you look for in a good 100 mile horse?  Substance, good forward attitude, propensity for soundness.

How old do you think a horse should be when it does its first one day 100? 7 years old

What do you think is the biggest mistake that you've made on a 100?  Which one?  There are many I'm sure.  Would probably have to be riding a horse on a 100 that wasn't ready for it.

What do you think is the biggest mistake that most riders make on a 100?  Feeling like they HAVE to take 24 hours to finish their first one.

What traits do you posses that make you a successful 100 mile rider?  Positive attitude, love to ride.

What traits does your horse posses that makes him/her a successful 100 mile horse?  See above…..

Describe something about your current 100 mile horse that is unique or different from other horses?  He just has that look in his eye of confidence.  Loves to be on the trail and is extremely graceful.

What lesson have you learned the hard way, on a 100 mile ride?  To keep focused on your horse and what he is telling you every step of the way.

How many 100's a year do you think is doable for the average horse and rider team?  5 to 8 depending on the length of your season
If they are riding to complete?  5 to 8
If they are riding competitively?  5 to 8


How much time off following a 100 mile ride do you recommend?  I normally give my horses 2-3 weeks off after a 100.
If they are riding to complete?  Same
If they are riding competitively?  Same

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