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

May 15, 2012

Wishes, dreams and desires...

Something about the school of hard knocks that makes it a great teacher.  The more I reflect on the past weekend the more I pull from it.  Journey so thoroughly exceeded all of my expectations.  The little spotted wonder has potential as a mileage horse, I'm sure of it.  But I did learn that riding as conservatively as we did has its own set of drawbacks.  Likewise, partnering up may not work well or may work in your favor. But riding the slow way presents some challenges all its own.
  1. You are out there longer and may encounter more of the heat of the day, the swarming of insects, run out of wonderful bottles of water, and have nobody behind you should you encounter an issue with your horse or your health.  Nor can you ask a fellow rider, "do you know this trail....have I missed the turn to (fill in the blank).
  2. You may be over-time if you encounter a directional snafu because you have ridden it so close to the wire that you have no "time cushion."   Valuable lesson that one.
  3. Having a ride buddy is great for an extra set of eyes to quickly spot the ribbons on a trail with many intersections. 
  4. Riding solo may help to keep you within your time window.   Since I know Journey has no interest in the water stops the first 10 miles or so, stopping at those for the benefit of a ride partner can eat up quite a bit of time that you might need on the next loop.
Then are the things about Journey that presented themselves in the actual ride environment.  Some of which I expected and some that I did not.
  1.  She doesn't rest well in an away place.  Journey didn't pace, or paw, or any of that silly nonsense, but nor did she lay down and sleep.  Maybe she will get better about that with experience.
  2. Journey is "pee challenged" she won't pee in her stall, and she won't pee if you are on her back.  You have to get off, have the lead rope, and give her the let 'er rip signal.  This requires me to get up at night and let her out to pee, which I discovered creates horses to start whinnying and makes me NOT A GOOD RIDE CAMP neighbor.  So I may have to park our pahtooties out away some to accommodate the spotted wonder's eccentric peeing habits.
 Having a blog gets you "out there" more than you might imagine.  It sets up some funny situations at times, and leaves you also vulnerable to some people wanting to stay the hell away from you!  I'm very honest about my experiences within this sport and there are some that are not comfortable with that flavor of self-revelation.  They find it threatening somehow. it happens is exactly  what this blog is about.  My personal experience with all the fun, misery, frustration, work, failure, head banging on desk, and periodic incidents of darned near self-flagellation and disaster all included.  I'm a rider that has worked solely in a little bubble of nonconformity. I've never owned an endurance horse.  I've taken on projects that other people probably would not ride.  Beginning with  starting from a blank slate that was blind in one eye, a barely started horse that bucked off the previous rider and was sold, on to a somewhat psychotic schizophrenic unbroke horse that hammered me into the ground no less than twenty times... and this time a green horse with about a dozen trail rides on her.  Those kind of horses take time and hard work. I've covered a lot of ground in the past five years.   It is what it is.    I work with what I have.

Then there is the sense of belonging.  This last ride made it very clear to me that I am indeed an outsider and will likely remain an outsider.   There is an engrained establishment within the sport.  Rightly so ,they've been doing it since 1978 or 1968, or pick your number.  They've paid their dues, they belong.  I'm an upstart, too old to make the org any serious revenue, I pull a stock trailer (rust and all), and I'm happy to finish.  That is about it.   Life is short, I'm not going to cry over having no peer group.  I will continue to be a courteous person, but otherwise I'm just there to do my thing (and eat good munchies from my cooler).  Now if I should turn up missing, I would appreciate a posse to drag our weathered bones back to ride camp.  My husband wishes to cremate those to sprinkle on my favorite trail.  Besides, he needs my body for life insurance purposes.

 Having a blog also gives a person this bizarre reality (show) type sense of silly celebrity that people seem to know you.  Of course you mostly have no idea who they are...but it is outrageously funny to me every time it happens and I totally enjoy meeting these new people within the sport.   It makes my heart so happy to have some person I've never seen yell out hello! Good luck  ENDURANCE GRANNY!  And then I laugh, because it is also so ludicrous that I am anybody as endurance riders go.   I hope someday that I get to walk forward and collect that 50 mile t-shirt.  It probably means more to me than almost anyone whom has gone before me (I'll bet Funder knows exactly what I mean).  That shirt will be my OLYMPIC MEDAL when it ever happens.  Maybe the fact that it so far has escaped me is the momentum that keeps me going.  Maybe once I get there, I will be done or a new challenge may present itself.

In the context of wishes, dreams, and desires Endurance is still my goal.  Let's ride Royal Spotted one, let's ride.

1 comment:

  1. Yup, that's what's always in the back of my mind when I decide to trot vs. walk. How hot is it getting, how long as my poor pony been carting me around, do I have an hour to walk the last three miles if we need to, etc. I don't even try to get Dixie to drink at the water stops for the first 12 miles - if we don't need to stop to help someone else's horse, we don't.

    My 50-mile High Desert brush is one of my most treasured possessions!

    You'll find a peer group eventually. :)