I have loved endurance since I trotted my way through that first LD as a junior 12 years ago. It was a fitting introduction to a die-hard sport, as my sponsor and I, along with most of the rest of the field, got thrown at what we can only assume was a mountain lion crossing; I caught our horses and my mentor ended up with a concussion and was done at the halfway vet check, but another kindly rider took on myself and my angsty Appendix mare and we finished the ride in fine style on the correct side of our horses. That day I won a grain scoop that I still use to this day, and that first vet check card is still in my drawer. That day, I found my passion for horses channeled into a sport full of wonderfully wild people with hearts full of adventure.
In 12 years and with that professed love of the sport you might expect that I have some sort of impressive AERC record to throw at you at this point, but I assure you that isn’t the case. With 355 endurance miles and 400 LD miles on a couple of different horses, I’m just an average joe with my foot in the door of AERC. In those 12 years though I have ridden thousands of trail miles on uncountable horses, and oh, the things I have learned.
for instance, mini horses make good supervisors, who knew?
One big lesson has surely been the acknowledgement and appreciation of what I have; I’m a redhead so I have fuming down to an art form, but has anyone else found themselves frustrated or totally disappointed that they can’t go to a ride/the tack isn’t fitting right/the horse found that one rock in the trail? All that work and time and money for nothing andandand!! I find myself occasionally mired down in these details and then have to stop and reassess. It generally goes something like this:
So let’s get this straight:
1. I have a horse?! (How lucky am I!)
2. I have the time or $ to even think about let alone get to go to an endurance ride? (How lucky am I!)
And finally, no really–
3.I have a horse?! (How lucky am I!)
Scrappy does Handsome in the full DD bridle and full cheek Myler snaffle the other day, Oolala
no better way to see country than from a horse!
Still, I have goals in endurance and higher dreams of what I hope to achieve. I’ve spent the last year with Scrappy getting to know him, changing every single piece of tack, trying to get it right, regrouping and trying again. At some point along the way my busy brain must always kick and remind me that while we’d all love to be kicking back in the after-glow of some fabulous success, with a delirious grin and perhaps a buckle to boot, the reality is that most of the time we’re all just grubby folks in tights and t-shirts doing the in-between and life work trying to make those moments happen. I hope that we can all remember that those miles, those moments or hours or years, those attempts and failures–those spaces in between–are what get us to those bigger crowning achievements. Hug your horse, remember why you started this craziness in the first place, and enjoy the ride!
A job well done, says supervisor Napoleon
Happy trails, however long they may be!