This was on Saturday we were at Tar Hollow State Park where we spent about 5 1/2 hours trail riding. There were eleven of us in the group and all were riding Tennessee Walking horses. We gaited whenever possible and the horses got a tough workout. Tar Hollow has some pretty steep hills and there were sections that were muddy. It was a beautiful day filled with sunshine and temperatures close to 60.
The last hour Joe really struggled. He was shot with barely enough strength to keep the pace. Older horses (that weren't as good, at least in my opinion :) ) outdid him because of their more mature body with more reserve to help them maintain the pace. For his age and experience, Joe had a great day, but his age and physical limitations kept him from looking as good as he is.
As we were driving home, I couldn't help but wonder how often this happens running dogs. How often do we push a young dog past the point where he can be successful? How often do age and physical limitations keep a young dog from looking as good as they are? I'll bet it happens more often than we realize.