Okay. I'll just out myself (in case the whole bunch of you have never figured it out)...I'm sensitive. I'm also rather adverse to being rejected which would likely require a full time psychiatrist to figure out why I feel as I do. As close as I come to that is working for a psychiatrist. Surely I will suck something beneficial from my environment through the ether. When I look at interactions between endurance people on the internet, especially web forums, and sometimes on personal blogs, and social networking sites, it seems like the anonymity for some reason brings out the very worst in people. You see so much internet-bullying out there. Some innocent person offers an opinion or asks a question and soon the sharks are circling until you almost see the blood spatter from the frenzied feeding. WHY? What power is given to someone else when they demean some other person that way? Tell me, are these the REAL PEOPLE OF ENDURANCE?
I'm getting to the point here eventually. This blog, my success, my lack of success, my love for my horses, frustration with my horses, my goals have all been laid out with as much honesty as I can muster. My "connection" with endurance people have mostly come via this electronic venue. Not so much luck at an actual ride though I did try reaching out in several ways to the endurance community. Initially I volunteered at a ride, then I volunteered for trail work , joined my nearest distance riding club (that didn't work out well), made "turtle awards" and purchased some as well to donate to a ride (apparently they don't recognize turtle rider *sigh*). I made these efforts small as they were to indicate an interest, perhaps get to know someone, perhaps find a ride buddy through networking, maybe...not sit at ride camp alone for the duration of a weekend. So I thought, maybe if I walk around camp more, comment on someone's horse, ask about their ride plans, then maybe....no. So I carried on, just doing my thing, by myself. At a certain point I felt Journey was very close to ready for an attempt at a 50 mile ride. She was managing 20 mile training rides okay, pulsing down okay. 50 miles is a big leap for a risk adverse person. I know full well how wrong things can go at a first of something, even if you think you are pacing right. So I researched people who had done the ride I was looking at and turtled consistently. Sent out emails to several of those people asking if they'd be willing to ride with me on a first 50. Not hold my hand as I'd never sacrifice someone else's completion for myself. Just an experienced person to mentor me that perhaps I wouldn't kill my horse, that I'm rating properly for that distance, and be a sounding board for questions related to stepping up. Of three people asked, the answers were "keep doing LD's more or less" "no I'm riding with someone else" and just "no." I had my horse trailer packed for the weekend, my entry paid, Coggin's test, and health certificate picked up and ready to roll. A year's work in preparation and my thought that day was are these the real people of endurance? My understanding was that it was a big happy friendly group of people that can't wait to help out a new person. I drank that Kool-Aid down to the very last drop, and may have ran my tongue around the edges of the glass in case I missed some. That is why I gave up, packed it in, and moved on over to CMO. It wasn't because the short venue of LD is hard (which it is for me due to some physical issues), it was because the sport had become so LONELY.
On the RideCamp forum some time back there was a discussion going on about the falling membership/ ride start numbers, and if we'd only...show people how very nice we are, surely they would come. I felt impassioned to draft an email to one of the posters who seemed very nice, was outside my region, and expressed to her my experience of the people aspect of the sport. I'm not sure that she entirely believed my whole sorry tale of expectation vs. outcome, but she did believe it enough to write me back, not once, not twice, but three times. She more or less said if I can show you the real people of endurance would you consider trying again? I stewed over that for more than a few days. I examined my own heart and realized though my personal experience was not a positive one, perhaps my belief of the sport was skewed by a set of circumstances that is not the norm. I told her that I would consider it.
So here I am. Heart and mind wide-open. My daughter is a big believer in "putting things out there for the universe" and that positive brings positive. So I'm looking for a training partner in my corner of southeastern Indiana, looking for a friend to say hey to in a certain upcoming midwest ride camp. Looking for the real people of endurance. Are you really out there? ~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