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

July 25, 2011

There are people who get to ride Tevis, and / or Old Dominion

Then there are the rest of us.  We fall into various categories of dabbling riders.  Maybe we do a distance ride or two a year just for fun.  Or we belong to a regional distance club and compete within that smaller pool to be a "big fish."  Some aspire to just get to a ride period!  I wonder sometimes why I try when I am inclined to encounter obstacles that in the moment seem nearly insurmountable.  Then I give myself a reality check, that distance riding for all the joy it brings is for most of us a hobby.  A rather expensive (relative to my income) hobby.  Though I cheer from the sidelines for those in my internet social network who ride the prestigious rides (I lived so vicariously through Mel who did the ride last year....loved it, and cried when I saw her completion). Yet, I do not aspire to any such lofty goals.  I have no dreams of Tevis, or the OD. I will not "win" a ride.  EVER.  I am too conservative a rider to likely top ten again EVER.  Distance riding has pushed me hard the other direction.  No longer is it can I beat my previous time.  It is can I ride this one and get a better vet score.  How much must I slow down to ride a second day. How much time can I set aside to eating and drinking on the trail and still have time to finish?  What do I need to change about how I do this sport that I can have a full ride season?  These days, that is my dream.  One season, 250 miles...or so on one horse.  Seems like a small thing, doesn't it? Or a vet card with all A's on it, now that would be worth riding for.

Setting aside Phebes continues to be a mental struggle for me.  She is such a beautiful horse, the horse I always dreamed of except for a few "confidence issues", which occasionally found me eating dirt.   I could live with that.  It just required me to be a very attentive rider.  A sounder hooved horse you'd never find.  Rock hard little hooves.  In training we didn't have the muscle tone issues.  Phebes would rate, ride on a loose rein, and get the job done. It was competition with the mental melt-down that would be our undoing.  It is hard to look at this horse and imagine that anything what-so-ever is wrong. It was even harder to accept.  I seriously miss my Phebes time.  I miss her like she is gone...Yet my free hours are limited and focus has to be given to Journey.

When I dream these days it is to wonder if and where Journey will take me? far as I need to go.   ~ E.G.


  1. OD was my goal ride for Ozzy this year. I was crushed when it didn't work out. Maybe 2012 with Rayzer.

  2. See, I'd LOVE to complete Tevis some day. I definitely need more time and money to be able to do that, but I think it would be really cool to complete that.

    I don't ever really plan to Top 10 anything. My goal is to still be completing rides on Mika when he's 30. It seems to me that pushing him to win all the time now would be counterproductive to that goal.

  3. I was wondering about your thoughts on the easyboot gloves vs renegades, if you have used both. I found that renegades wouldn't stay on in the mud at all. It wasn't a fit issue as the next smaller size was several mm too small. The new glove wide sizes look perfect for Boomer and I was hoping to get some feedback before making the plunge.

  4. Heather,

    In fairness I have not ever tried the renegade boots. So I can't offer an opinion on them in all fairness. Mel (Boots and Saddles) has used them extensively and believes in them enough that she's now dealing in them. She may be able to assist you with your fitting issues or offer suggestions.

    I've used the Glove. I absolutely love the Glove. However the Glove is not a good fit for every hoof. If the new wide performs and stays put as well, I'll be all for it. I've got mine on order for the end of August. I believe enough in the Glove that I've ordered four of them even though I'll likely only run them on the fronts. If Boomer's hoof dimensions run towards round, or wider than long, the wides should be a good choice. Based on my experience my first choice is the Glove as there is very little tweaking involved to put them on and they pop right off when you are done. I even throw mine in the washing machine on gentle (after hosing them off) and they look nice after a lot of miles. The only parts are some washers and set screws, and the gaiter. The shells last a long, long time. The only time I've had my Gloves pop off was on a steep uphill gallop and I was not on the horse, she was running off hell bent for leather. They stayed put in the mud just fine.

    The company does not reimburse me, and I do not make any money from the boots. I just plain like them.

    Someday I'll try a used pair of Renegades just to see what I think. But for my purposes and experience right here, right now, I can't recommend or advise on product that I have never used. It just wouldn't be nice!

    Like most things, it boils down to the horse. Nothing related to horses is one size fits all. Not Gloves, not Renegades, not steel shoes, or bare hooves. Depends on the horse.

    Mel's a nice person, I'll bet she can offer some tips for keeping those Renegades on the horse. If those don't solve it (since you've already made the boot purchase) it's just one of those things.Cut your losses and I say jump onto the wide gloves and enjoy the ride ☺

  5. Hey EG - just caught up on my reading!!!!! And this was my last post. :)

    I really enjoyed your thoughts about riding the "big rides". I actually think that we have very similar thought processes when it comes to riding endurance rides and what we consider priorities and what's important (which is why I'm a regular reader). I think the big difference that allows me to ride Tevis and participate in endurance the way I do is location.

    It's not because I have a better horse, or I'm more dedicated or anything like that - we both do this as a hobby on realtively "cheap" horses (I say that in the best way possible as I know we both love our girls immensely). BUT - I have the advantage of having many local rides to chose from. If I don't like the terrain on a ride - I do an alternative one that is the same distance away. I can be picky. I can avoid the really tough rides. I'm close enough to the Tevis trail to train on it. When I get to Tevis - it's with a horse that only has to travel ONE hour....not several days. That's HUGE. I have 3 or 4 LOCAL (as in, closer than 4 hours travel time) 100's each year - some very difficult, and some "easy" (meaning they are mostly flat with good footing). I'm very very very lucky.

    I also understand that someday, I might not be so fortunate. I may live somewhere in the future where I have limited options for rides and I may never see a "big name" 100 again. The people I'm amazed at who complete Tevis are the ones who live a different part of the country with different terrain, have to travel 4+ hours to all their rides, don't have any local 100's, and travel 2 1/2 days to Tevis.....and then complete because they are just that awsome. I would not put myself in that category at all.

    FYI - the 2010 tevis video made me cry in the closing scenes as I'm finishing. Be forewarned :) Not posted yet, but will be soon.