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

December 22, 2010

Shades of Gray

I'm bouncing this topic off of the Boots and Saddles blog (thanks Mel), and congrats on your new boot business too.  Fee looked "fine" with that big whacking red stride!

I want to talk about my 7/8 arabian (polish/cmk) bred mare.  She is a horse that pushes constantly for leadership, she is spooky, and often a pain in the butt.  If you put her up for two weeks you might as well figure you will have at least three days of ground work before you get her head back into the right place for riding again. 
So let's tick off the negatives from the beginning and the things that I have accomplished will be followed with a *

1. No ground manners * (enlisted a trainer to begin round penning for respect)
2. Would not load in a horse trailer. * (enlisted a trainer for at home clinic)
3. Not under saddle. * 
4. Never on the trail. *
5. Never away from home.*
6. Could not walk down a steep hill without about killing herself.*
7. Would not cross water.*
8.  Not road safe.
9.  Would not tie.*
10. Could not stand still for the vet.*
11. Could not relax in camp.*
12. Would not take electrolytes in a syringe.*
13. Afraid of objects.*
14. Could not rate on trail at LD's.*
15. Spooked and spun back constantly. (down 90%)
16. In constant motion when tied. (down 75%)
17.  Would not eat at ride camp.  75% improved
18. Would not drink at ride camp. *
19. Would not stand for vaccinations. *
20.  Will not drink on trail.  50% improved.
21.  Scoring B's at vet checks in metabolic areas. (this was initially a C but we are working at it and getting incrementally better).

Now for the rider:

1.  Clueless about endurance riding.  * (no longer clueless but still a newbie)
2.  Taking advice as gospel from experienced riders. * (learned not all advice is good)
3.  Could not ride a balanced posting trot.  * (took lessons and cleared that up)
4.  Had not ridden a hands free canter with Phebes when we first started out.  * (We can do so now but I'm not real confident at it,  have lessons arranged once the snow is off the arena...probably February or March).   I think lessons will give me more confidence in her.
5.  The ribbons....oh hell! The ribbons!   * By gosh, I think I've got it!
6.  LSD. *   Yes, I actually got the curve on that now, and mine is much slower than your's.  I've learned that "slow" means really different things to different people.
And the list could go on and on.  Things we need to learn and conquer?   Many shades of gray. 

This blog is about a sometimes clueless horsewoman,  and a journey on "my" horse from literally the ground up.  It is about me picking up the pieces of the puzzle and turning them around, and around.  It is about how much I love the look of the trail between my horses ears, the many set backs, frustrations,  and conquering most of those one little piece at a time.  It isn't about me becoming an endurance (50+) rider as much as it is about  doing what I enjoy, (even though I may grouch & grumble) perserverence, and loving the horse I have even though she has warts so to speak.    I don't want my journey to be bought.  I want to earn it. My little girl has about 100 + LD completion miles.  Way to early to write off this sport though I have a cheering section that thinks I should.  I believe in her and I believe in me.   We will adjust our sails, and float on.   We will go even slower still if need be.  And Mel...thank you for understanding and offering up your been there, done that real world perspective.  There are newbies, and then there are NEWBIES.  ~ E.G.


  1. Boy, did I need this post today. Thanks EG!

  2. Truthfully, I'm not sure it's possible to successfully *buy* an endurance career, although gawd knows I see plenty of people try.

    Every year (heck, every ride ) somebody new shows up in camp with a horse we all recognize.

    However, endurance people don't sell their best horses (not locally, anyhow). They sell the horses with "issues." The newbie who figures that s/he has purchased success by buying an experienced endurance horse, has instead often purchased "issues."

    Alternately, say that a newbie gets to ride a REALLY AWESOME endurance horse for his/her first event...I'm talking a horse like Zayante or Heraldic. What does a newbie learn from this experience? A newbie doesn't know what s/he doesn't know , so a newbie won't learn nearly as much by riding a great horse as by riding an "ordinary" horse.

    I've seen better success for newbies who try the sport with the horse they already know and are already fond of BEFORE the start line. Not 100% success, and not immediate success sometimes. But longer-lasting, deeper-held success, because the person really, REALLY learns stuff when it gets learned "the hard way."

    EG, you're doing fine. Keep going!

  3. You deserve a serious pat on the back :)

  4. EG, I love your saying, "We will adjust our sails and float on" - what a wonderful way with words! You go, girl- it is great to read about your journey, and it is inspiring to others as well!