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Discipline: LD/Endurance, CMO, Trail Rider, Cartoonist, Writer, Co-Director/ Green Bean Endurance

December 24, 2008

Endurance Riders a Sharing Bunch

I am four years into my journey to ride Limited Distance Endurance. Why so long you might ask? This adventure began with my acquisition of a sixteen year old broodmare, nursing a two month old filly (future distance horse). While waiting for baby to grow up, I decided to put my old mare under saddle and on the trail. That in itself took two years, culminating in a 15 mile novice CTR ride, and a 30 mile Limited Distance ride. Little was I to know at the end of that season that Aidrian (my Puddin') was fast going blind in her left eye. When I picked up riding her the next spring, the first thing we did was fall over a downed log across the trail. Though I new her eyesight on the left wasn't too good, it was suddenly evident that things were much worse than I'd thought. Her familiarity with her environment at home masked the declining eyesight, but the trail brought it all clear in a hurry. Instant retirement of my distance riding horse, two years of work went down the drain. However I will never lament the many hours on the trail with that particular horse, as she is the horse of my heart. At this point Phebes was 3 years and a few months, not old enough for the distance sports, but old enough to begin some easy under saddle work in the round pen. Another winter gone by, and I hoped to pick up where I left off with Phebes as a four-year-old. Phebes had other ideas, depositing me unceremoniously on my head. So the summer of 2008 is spent just trying to convince her not to buck me off, schooling exercises, trailer loading, and handling. By this fall I had worked up the nerve to try her on trail for the first time, and we've been building on that since. Being a novice rider, novice horse trainer, and novice distance rider ALL AT THE SAME TIME has certainly had its limitations and setbacks.

Late fall moved in and my biggest fear was losing again the ground I had gained with Phebes, a winter off put the fear into me. This is where and when I got really lucky, that Endurance Riders are a sharing bunch. I've been blessed to have other riders willing to ride with me in the cold, mud, and snow. Chris, David, Stacey, and Gwen, I thank you so much for your patience, encouragement, and companionship on trail. All have made it possible for me to continue riding so far up into late December, and never alone on my young green horse. That is mentorship. That is a big part of what endurance riding is about. I'm looking forward now to a new year, and all the exciting challenges that Phebes and I will face. I look forward to putting my little grey arabian/saddlebred/pinto cross to the test of our first Limited Distance ride. A huge thank you to these Indiana endurance and limited distance riders who were willing to share their knowledge and their time, to help an almost over the hill, ~Endurance Granny

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