‘Tis the season for low, slow distance work as we start legging our horses back up for the spring season. Lap after lap around the field with nothing to do but stare between between our horse’s ears and contemplate what we’re going to eat for dinner… it gets old pretty fast.
It should come as no surprise when our horses start inventing little games for themselves like “Killer squirrel! Run for your life!,” “I think there’s something evil hiding behind that round bale we’ve already passed without incident 20 times,” and “What’s that terrifying sound? *BOLT* Oh, it’s just my own hooves swooshing through the grass, haha. Hey, where’d you go?”
Horse or human, you’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta to do keep from going completely insane, and maybe our horses are actually on to something. Tricking yourself into believing that your life is in danger is way more entertaining than, say, counting the number of fence posts you pass just because you have nothing better to do.
Here are three smartphone running apps that were created as boredom relief for human runners but could be useful in the context of equine conditioning as well. In addition to all the standard bells and whistles — GPS mapping, speed/distance tracking, etc. — each supplies its own unique “motivational” tool.
Only a few have survived the zombie epidemic. You are a Runner en-route to one of humanity’s last remaining outposts. They need your help to gather supplies, rescue survivors, and defend their home….
There’s nothing like a herd of zombies to keep a spring in your horse’s step. This app sends its users out into the post-apocalyptic world on missions that much more exciting than what you’re actually doing, a.k.a trotting circles around a field.
If you enable the “zombie chases” function, you occasionally encounter big, moaning packs of zoms during your mission which you must “outrun.” You determine the frequency of the attacks and by what percentage you must increase your speed to beat them. Interval training… boom!
Wolves at your back and fire all around. Stopping would mean certain death. There’s just one way out! Follow the mysterious instructions of the Eagle, while running for your life before the eyes of bloodthirsty spectators. For your life and the salvation of your people… Can you make it?
The Runtastic app includes an activity function called Story Runs wherein you can choose your own death-defying adventure. Whether you’re in the mood to escape from Alcatraz or hunt for the cure that saves all mankind, these narratives are a bit less interactive than those of “Zombies, Run!” but they’ll no doubt add a little exhilaration to your ride.
Alternately, if your horse is already providing the adrenaline rushes (“The neighbor’s Corgi has bloody fangs, mom, I swear! We’ve gotta get out of here!”), you can choose a more mellow story line like “Moments of Bliss” which takes listeners on a chill, woodsy jaunt.
A bomb explodes in Inverness station, and you’re given a package that could save the world. To stay alive, you’ll need to walk the length of the UK….
So you’re not quite to trot-set fitness level, or maybe you’re rehabbing from an injury with walks. There’s an app for that, too!
With “The Walk” you’re not just strolling laps around the field, you’re risking your life on an important mission. And the more you move, the more the story unfolds.
All are available for Android and iOS.
How do YOU keep yourself entertained during long conditioning rides? Leave your own strategies in the comments!