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

January 20, 2014

Are We Moving Away From the Grass Roots of the Sport?

I firmly believe that there are two kinds of riders in endurance.  Those who ride for miles and personal challenge, and those essentially that ride to win.  This applies to both Limited Distance and Endurance distance.  It feels like over time the original grass roots focus of taking your horse over the mountains for a 100 miles in 24 hours has evolved and is evolving into a somewhat different sport.    Though I believe there is room for both kind of riders in the sport,  I do not feel they are well-served under the same set of rules necessarily.   For in fact, one groups mindset is indeed "to finish is to win" while the others is "to win is to win."   The first group is better able to stay under the radar of animal rights activists and such, while the second group must surely teeter on the slippery slope of being deemed animal abusers (taking this from an activist point of view, not a personal one).  Factually, our horses do not sign on for this trip through the wilderness, we do.  That being said we must always keep our equine's best interests at heart and strive to know when to pull the plug on our distance adventures.  My heart believes that the sport from its grass roots infancy was more about getting out there and facing the personal challenge, beating the trail, riding under the sun, and the moon, and the stars,while building a partnership with your horse, and at the end of the day saying "we did it!" 

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