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

November 10, 2013

The Big Win: Riding Non-Competitively

No this is not a diatribe on the riders who enjoy successfully racing their horses in endurance.  I fully believe there is a time and a place, along with a special aptitude for this activity.  It just isn't "me."   In my early Limited Distance rides I felt a sense of urgency.  It wasn't that I cared about placement, but feared I'd time out on finishing, and it was easy to get caught up in the sea of horses moving at speed.  Easy to get your horse going, not so easy to get your horse shifted into a lower gear once it's tasted a start near the front.  Somewhere over the course of riding a couple of handfuls of LD rides and finally the first ever 50 I have come to the conclusion that I really am not at all competitive.  I just barely want to claim my t-shirt!  If I were competitive it would be for the turtle award which I usually miss by a rider, sometimes two.  It is the completion that matters to me, especially since I should have a label on my forehead reading "directionally challenged." I like doing it my way. At my speed.  Improving on a previous ride, a better vet score, or a more organized breakdown of camp, all are wins. Adding to my horse's ride mileage tally, bonus! This is how I roll.   So in the end, the ride completion itself becomes the prize.  I think that epitomizes the AERC's motto:  "To finish is to win."


  1. I, personally, like your attitude. I used to be extremely competitive - and probably am still considered that by some - but have found that as I have aged, I very much value just the ABILITY to continue to do things. Rather than racing across the mountain, I would rather go a tad slower and actually SEE the animals there, or the flowers or just take a deep breath of the fresh, mountain air - and know that I am still 'on top of' my horse! Maybe different things become more important in your life as you mature (that and the fact that it takes longer to heal when you hit the ground, no more bouncing). I think you did a great job getting your 50 done!
    Bionic Cowgirl

  2. Whether I ride to compete or to complete depends entirely on the ride and the horse every time. I get excited when I come in top ten, but to me, it's much more important to get the miles and have a happy, sound horse at the end of the day. I see a lot of the top top riders cruising along out there, and I envy their fit, fit, born-to-do-this horses, but when I look up their rider histories, I often feel a sense of pride in myself... because my completion percentage is so much higher than theirs, and I can rest assured knowing that I put the welfare of my horses first and foremost.