In other news
I've been thinking a lot lately about my personal perceptions of the distance sports. Though I didn't have the "best" luck in the world building a local network within the AERC membership, took a few hard licks, and experienced more than a few disappointing outcomes (hang on...I'm getting there), my overall experience was more positive than negative. For one thing between my three girls (Puddin', Phebes, & The Spotted Wonder) we logged over 4000 training/trail miles. That alone is pretty awesome. In this process I earned my 250 mile LD chevron (lacking on 25 miles to get one on Phebes). I also took two mares from no training, to solid trail horses, and took Journey from barn sourness to alpha-trail mare. These things surely out-weigh those other little disappointments.
Just lately I had some email from a fairly well-known rider from the northeast. My communication with her certainly made me see that perhaps the experiences I had are not necessarily the normal experience of those participating in endurance on a broader scale. Likewise, I've came to the epiphany that the snarkiness of the distance forums is also not a good representation of the AERC. It is mostly a round robin of the same old crap, it runs in cycles, nothing changes, and it is not a "healthy" place for a person beginning the sport (unless you are snarky too, then you'll fit right in). Not that those people don't have good ride records....just not necessarily the kindest representation of the sport as a whole. I'm inclined to treat others as I would like to be treated in most things, so I had to pull myself out of the environment, and take some time to regroup. Its taken a little over a year. But I'm kind of in an okay place, recovered from my major "burn out" and looking to the future again with the fabulous Spotted Wonder. It will just have to be the right place, the right time, and with the right people...riding my own horse. At a new goal.