I can’t tell you how to win, BC, or even rack up a whopping lot of competition miles at this point. I am not the first, last, most or least impressive. I’m just someone who’s spent 6+ years and a lot of time, money, research, and heartache on trying to succeed at endurance and if I can leave you with only one message let it be:
Do this for the bond. Do it with a horse that fills you with joy from first glimpse in the field to last mile on the trail. Realistically, you will struggle, strive, and have to work at improvement and growth with your horse, but if you aren’t starting with a deep Like, let’s hope Love, of your horse, just don’t bother. The papers won’t make it, the competition records won’t make it, the right color, height, build, or saddle won’t make it.
I’ve tried to do it all ways, starting early on with non-Arabian Craigslist specials who didn’t like the training mileage (+the many misrepresented CL specials I saw/rode/never bought–wow). They showed me that not every decently built horse out of the field wants to/can do an LD+. Next I bought a high end, well bred, middle aged Arabian mare that I liked that had an AERC start and the bloodlines: she gave me filly Sheza and she showed me the joy of Going and riding a rocket ship–and was retired with arthritis/hock issues after one season. With Desire retired in my field and Sheza growing up, I next tried a calmer, easier going, more proven ride in a 100 mile Rushcreek gelding. He had the bloodlines, the bone, the level head, the record, the everything–except the desire to do endurance or much interest in me, for that matter. Boy does 50 miles feel long that way.
Recently I listed my other filly, Rushcreek Aurora, for sale. Big, well bred, well built, a steady disposition, a legacy of performance at her back. Heads are turned, then scratched, by my claims of wanting to do endurance but my behavior of selling a great prospect in favor of recently arrived Kenny–a 14 hh, toed out, crooked legged Morgan cross plucked from the slaughter truck a few years ago. All I can say is, with full acknowledgement of continued risk and effort, I want to endure this life, this world, this sport, with people and critters that bring smiles and evoke a feeling of brotherhood. In my world, Kenny brings me a ridiculous smile and effusive glow when I see, handle, or ride him–and Rory is a Fabulous Endurance Prospect on paper.
As Melinda said: “Step one of endurance. Find a horse that you actually enjoy being with for 50 or hundred miles.”
What a notion.
4 thoughts on “Thoughts on “Endurance Prospects””
excellent. A horse you want to be with for 50 miles, love that. Or 10 hours, or 24 hours!Troll-doll Kenny is a perfect addition to your herd. A horse that makes you laugh or smile is pretty priceless. You’ve known enough horses to know the best fit for Rushcreek Aurora isn’t you, but she has such a great start (and is such a beauty) that someone will have a wonderful horse.
It’s really good advice. This stuff — horse sports in general — are too expensive in too many ways (time, effort, emotion, etc., even before you get to the cash) to bother with if you’re not enjoying your partner(s) and the experience independent of objective success. I’ve always liked the way that Wofford puts it re: buying event horses: buy the one that you’re willing to make excuses for. Don’t be stupid about it, but there will come a day when everything is wrong and you want to still be happy with the face looking at your over the stall door (or across the field, or whatever).
So true! That horse that even when things go wrong you just grin and shake your head instead of genuinely despair.