My heart smiles when I see the rusty old truck, and the backyard horse, the nerves all alive with the fire of a very first ride. It is magic. I hope the magic finds its way, I hope it winds its green wind into much happiness for others. Endurance Granny is taking a hiatus.
If you have dreams ,or passions however small, or seemingly ludicrous...own them. Don't let anyone take them from you. But don't take anyone else's. Give back. But more than anything,be true to yourself & be happy. When happiness becomes struggle set that something aside, find a new joy. At the end of the day I have to be a steward of my own. There are many important things in life right now, real things. Like a few friends who are true, a Mom who has cancer, a husband who has given too much for my passion, a crazy spotted horse that does not have the look of eagles (just spots). The thing I've loved so long, it has finally taken too much. Too much. And oddly, this pivotal thing set me free. Maybe the thing will find its way...maybe it will stand on its own. ♥
I have struggled this past week with coming to terms with a decision made by representatives of AERC. A struggle to understand.
Last November a group was formed which was given the name Green Bean Endurance. The purpose of the group was to support new riders in the endurance sport (identified as green beans). We decided to trial a TEAMS competition in an effort to:
- Give new riders a level competition platform and goals for riding AERC sanctioned rides.
- To support AERC as the sanctioning organization of the rides our group would attend through membership.
- To develop a self-sustaining awards platform through inexpensive join fees and donated prizes.
The out-pouring was phenomenal. We had 125 people join our TEAMS competition within the first two weeks. In fact interest was so good that we capped the competition entries at 125 as we were piloting in uncharted territory. We had individuals agree to offer prizes for the year end awards, and corporate/business entities sign on to support the monthly drawing for endurance related items. As a result 125 people joined AERC for the 2015 season.
As our TEAMS following continued to grow I personally was approached by a representative of AERC at an Intro Clinic early in the spring of 2015 inquiring if we would be interested in working together with AERC on things Green Bean. A discussion ensued involving how TEAMS operated, our scoring system, and the possibility of creating a Levels program for Green Bean as well as merging our small group into AERC for the greater good of all parties. In these discussions the only thing on the table was our group, working our TEAMS and our group, developing that Levels program. It was suggested that we would function as a subcommittee under the supervision of the membership committee. Our group agreed to this proposal, changed our pay membership website to a free one, would hand over any residual finances at the close of 2015 season, and begin work as a group on the Levels program, and kick off TEAMS competition on a larger scale in 2016. Our residual finances would go towards the Levels Program, and future TEAMS competition. All parties of our immediate group agreed with the proposal of working together with AERC towards this end goal. The proposal was to be voted upon last weekend in order to get things lined out in time for the coming season. Then things suddenly got “weird”. Apparently folks from the western states opposed the proposal. People suddenly were upset and claiming ownership of Green Bean. I personally found all the politicizing very confusing...since we were only talking in terms of TEAMS and LEVELS and nobody out there in Green Bean at large was doing anything in my awareness related directly to that cause (all doing wonderful things, just not this thing). As the proposal readied to come to a vote, the original proposal as discussed with me over the course of about five months suddenly took on a new turn ---the vote was on a Green Bean committee being formed with all the various Green Bean “factions” (not my term, theirs), and I was to agree to that change of plan for myself and another person who has worked on our project with me for nearly a year. Not the plan our group of three had agreed upon, but something entirely different with a group of people unknown and unspecified. One of our people was away at an AERC ride, no cell phone signal...riding her horse. I asked who would be sitting on this group? I asked could we possibly negotiate this to accommodate all three of the key people essential to running TEAMS. I am not well-versed in the dynamics (or structure) of AERC and how it functions on the board level. But I felt very uncomfortable being pulled towards an outcome that looked like the Green Bean movement at large being taken against its will. I definitely did not feel that I could speak for all parties of our group when not all were present and accounted for. A firm answer was demanded and I was unable to give one. It came down to “you are either with us, or we will take Green Bean as our own anyway.”
The fat little lady leaned back in her chair. I was confused, upset, and shocked. It made me question motivations. It made me question the veracity of the conversations over the past five months. I could not agree for PNER, Sharalyn Hay, or any of the other related Green Bean groups that have so successfully operated in their organic wonderful way building this sport through positivism and inclusiveness. Was I willing to say yes...not knowing truly what we were saying yes to? We were given a very short period of time in the end to say yes we would or no we wouldn't. I asked for Sunday September 12th to be sure I could confer with all of our group of three about the directions of these changes until we committed to anything. To make sure our group had equal footing as a team effort in any new proposal.
What began as bringing Green Bean Endurance (our small off-shoot) into the fold as a competition venue we were willing to hand over and operate--- freely, had suddenly morphed into them taking over and controlling the Green Bean movement in its entirety. When I questioned this, I was told more or less too bad...you are out.
I had a pretty serious visceral reaction to the concept of a take over. I do believe that Green Bean in general could benefit greatly forming a cooperative alliance with AERC, but I do not presume to speak for those others that came before me, I am not their voice.
And I burned some important bridges (more likely dynamited them). After being told it was do it or we take it anyway...that I have a good story; but no substance, that I have an ego and by not doing the thing I was making it “all about me.” That by pointing out our group's contribution to the good of AERC this past year that I was discounting the contribution of many others who have done the same. I disagree on those points. I believe it is okay to feel proud that your collective group has brought others to membership and participation in the sport. It takes nothing away from the others. I believe it is okay to feel happiness in seeing new people out there riding in endurance, joining AERC, making friends, pulling together as TEAMS, and logging thousands of completion miles as a result. If that pride is ego, then call me guilty. As I am proud of ALL OF THEM.
I do offer my apology to the various Green Bean entities out there. It was and is not my intention to offer you up against your own bidding. I believe you are doing just fine... In the end I feel that I was personally misled to believe that only our little venue and a Levels program for growth was on the table when in fact, the plan most likely was to take Green Bean in its entirety.
In closing, I don't know what the future will bring. Perhaps someone with insight will trademark and protect the Green Bean name. Perhaps the bigger organization will back step and leave the organic movement at large alone for all the wonderful good it is doing bringing new folks interest, alive and well to the sport. Should there be a take-over...I am not sure how people will react to that. It isn't for me to say . I won't say!
As for myself I expect to become a pariah at best. But that is okay. Green Bean has snapped some minds to attention. Green Bean illustrates that new way and has so much potential to grow the sport of endurance riding in the future. I hope all involved use it for distance riding's greater good.