Sometimes goal setting is hard. It seems like the probability of success is nearly impossible. If you are feeling this way, maybe it is time to re-think your personal ride goals. Are you dreaming past your horse's capabilities, or your own financial capability, or both? Success begins and frustration ends when you can balance your ride goals, your horse's potential, and your financial situation. It would be distressing to have set goals, trained for them, only to determine that the price of entry fees, insurance, and fuel to the many venues you would need to attend has shut you down. Some people find themselves within that fortunate income bracket to have High Point and High Mileage Goals, but remember that you have to attend a lot of rides in many places to get anywhere close to the league of placing in those. If you can do that, I’ll cheer you on. Some of us have to fill the barn with hay, support the kids, take care of the critters, and play on what’s left. In today’s economy that can mean at the end of the month not much residual cash. So how do you still have fun in the sport if you aren’t winning? If you can't go to ride, after ride, after ride? There is where it becomes personal, challenging, and all kinds of crazy good. You have just wiped the “competition” off the map, and now it is down to you, your horse, and the trail. You stop looking at other people's success, and determine what you can do, instead of what you cannot. Frankly this kind of laser specific focus is what gets my adrenaline going. It is where your mind opens up to the possibilities.
The Elizabeth Funderburks of the world are “my” kind of hero. Rider, horse, and determination that says, by damned…I’m going to beat this goal if it kills me. Though I have no ambition to replicate her goals, I certainly resonate with her absolute stick-to-it-ness. That thing that says no matter if I have to do it three times, or more, we are going to succeed at something personally challenging on the horse I have. Not the goal that requires me to buy a race bred, endurance proven Arabian something or other, but taking this back paddock (Appaloosa, Tennessee Walker, Morgan, Mustang, or…whatever kind) horse and whip this trail, on this date, and build a beautiful connection with that horse. Riding out to prove something to myself. That is what the folks who don’t do the distance sports fail to understand. It is what the people who race do not understand about those who do not. Once you get that, you will never look at endurance the same. So maybe you can’t make it to twelve competitions this year. Maybe you aren't going to hot shoe it down the trail for glory ride after ride after ride. But you might be able to throw down enough cash to make it to a pinnacle ride once a year, yes? Or twice, yes? You might up your game from LD to 50, or 50 to 75, or set your goal for the big one, a hundred miles in a day. Wrap your heart around one of those; make a financial plan of how you can get there. The field of dreams is not out there across the fence my friends. It is right smack dab in the middle of your chest, that place where your emotion rises, that moment that you know you and your horse have done something personally phenomenal.