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? Perhaps...as far as I need to go. ~ E.G.
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