Discipline: LD/Endurance, CMO, Trail Rider, Cartoonist, Writer, Co-Director/ Green Bean Endurance
Favorite Links for training, gear, and memberships!
- National Association of Competitive Mounted Orienteering
- HOW TO CMO
- What is CMO?
- Old Dominion Endurance Rides
- Renegade Hoof Boots
- Riding vs. Racing a discussion with the Duck.
- Trumbull Mountain's INTRO TO ENDURANCE RIDING
- Principles of Conditioning
- Conditioning the endurance horse by SERA
- Short Article: Feeding & Training the Endurance Horse
- Feeding the Endurance Horse, Swedish Author
- Preventing Dehydration In the Endurance Horse, Ontario Competitive Trail Riding Association
- Jim Holland's fantastic training links here!
- South Eastern Distance Rider's Association
September 10, 2009
Of horses and dreams...
Sometimes life gives you the unexpected. It came to me by way of a sixteen year old Arabian mare with a pinto foal at her side. I bought her because that was the only way I could get the foal, it was a package deal. The little filly at her side was a beautiful bay tobiano. The plan: Sell the mare for whatever I could get out of her, and keep the filly to raise for my “endurance” horse.
That filly was a pain in the ass. The meanest thing on four legs, and her mama obviously thought that filly was the earth, the sky, and the wind, and it belonged to her. After about the third week with the filly I was thinking “I don’t think I like this baby much.” But I had signed on for the long haul and kept struggling along to get her to where she could be handled. Of course this meant more time with mama horse. Fall rolled around and the mare was still here and it was time to wean the filly. At that point I had an epiphany…maybe I could ride this mare. Didn’t matter that she had only been ridden once and promptly deposited the former owner on the ground and her training pretty well had ended right then and there. So ride we did. First with no steering and no brakes, and later with a pretty good handle on both. Then I got to thinking about trying a Limited Distance ride with her. Did I mention that she was one side blind and I hadn’t figured that out yet? My trusty little mare completed a novice ride in second place, and then placed eleventh at her first and only Limited Distance ride. That summer brought me the most joy of my life. Riding my little grey mare, both of us learning as we went. If I could say one perfect thing about her it would be “that horse has try.” I never pointed her at anything that she did not give me her best effort. No matter if she couldn’t half see, or if she was just plain scared to death, if I asked, she tried. We bonded. We traveled a thousand miles that one year. Not endurance miles, but just learning, and preparing for one Limited Distance ride to fulfill a little dream I’d had since I was in my twenties. So at the ripe age of 19 years she took me on that ride, and she made me proud. In the weeks that followed Uveitis would rob her of what sight she had in her left eye, and begin to destroy the vision in the remaining eye. I gave my girl retirement. Some people might think I was pretty silly feeding a horse that couldn’t do anything for me. But you know, she never stopped giving. If horses can love, she did. Never did I go into the pasture or paddock that she did not seek me out, soft muzzle “searching” and finding me.
I think that it is a gift to have the perfect horse. Puddin’ was that horse for me. My friend, the soaker upper of many tears, the giver of dreams.
Puddin’ was put down today. She could no longer find her way among the other horses and she was so frightened. She had gone through the electric rope fence when my husband got home yesterday afternoon. Then I put her in her stall last night with her fearful of not being oriented to place. I owe this old mare for her love, and her devotion. She cared for me on the trail and off, and never was an Arabian more beautiful to me than this one special horse. ~E.G.