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Discipline: LD/Endurance, CMO, Trail Rider, Cartoonist, Writer, Co-Director/ Green Bean Endurance
Email: jackereynolds@yahoo.com


July 23, 2013

The Hardest Thing about Distance Riding

Is time.  It shouldn't be.  But it is.  Time to get in the training rides of a few hours during the week, and a nice three plus/give or take ride on the weekend.   I figure with five hours of "me" time I can get a horse fit.  It isn't optimal, more like the bare minimum if you want any hope of a slow finish.  Six or seven hours a week would be "perfect" at least for me.   I don't know how people balance that.  How they carve out a little "me" time, and not seem selfish, or uncaring, or my favorite quote "obsessed."  I'm not obsessed.  There is something on my bucket list that I've wanted to do since I was twenty-six years old.  That is thirty years ago friends.  It's a long time to want that one thing.

Life has a way of not only getting in the way, but being rudely abrupt about it.   It makes me damned mad. (yes, I said the "d" word) (actually a few more expletives came rolling loose tonight, but we won't talk about that) (at least not by way of direct quote).   

So you want to ride distance.  Buying the horse isn't so hard.  Heck, people give arabians away in the winter time.  Finding the right horse?  That is hard.

Getting a truck and a trailer, that's a doable goal for most working people.  It may turn out to be a Corn Pro, and a used beater truck, but if it rolls and gets you there, then that is okay, right?  So not terribly hard.

The gear can be pieced together bit, by bit over time.  Eventually you sort it out and have the stuff you need.  A slow process, but not terribly hard. 

Conditioning the horse in a perfect world should not be hard.  It should actually be fun!  The most okay I can be, is moving down a trail at a nice little trot on my horse.  The world falls away with its related disappointments.  So that part, though strenuous is not hard.

I personally have five days that are possible ride days.  Mon & Tues afternoons, Friday evening, and a day on the weekend.    It sounds really good.  It should be really good!  Then I get invited (or guilted)to a family event, and another, and another, and another.  The truck blows a fuel pump (there goes the weeks LSD ride), lightening storm!  Covering someone's shifts at work...there goes two more afternoons.   I reasonably understand you can only do what you can do, but I feel that you also have a responsibility to your horse for preparation.  A few things in the sport aren't negotiable... and being properly conditioned is one of them.

All the mad just came erupting out of me today.  Mad that it has taken so long.  Mad for the year off.  And yes, madder than hell about a thunderstorm blowing in and attempting to rob me of my two hour ride.   The hardest thing about distance riding is T-I-M-E.    Time plucking away at the years, time given to others, time at work, time taking care of home and hearth.  I want the next fifteen weeks.    Screw diamond rings, trips to the mall,  and fancy dinners, or a beach vacation.  I want to ride my horse, with no pressure, no guilt, just with the joy that that process gives me.   Give me time.  Seven hours a week tops. 

Rant over.

~E.G.

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