"If all else fails, immortality can always be assured by spectacular error"
- John Kenneth Galbraith
After a particularly disappointing ride on Gem last night followed by a particularly annoying conversation with the barn manager I came home with a big case of the I can'ts. I wasn't feeling sorry for myself, I was just lost in all the reasons that this dream will never come to fruition.
How can I possibly find time to ride on the trails when I can only go insanely early in the morning or after 7 pm? My son is my number one priority and always will be so I do not want to sacrifice time with him when it is so preciously little with working full time as it is. It will be dark before I leave work in the winter so then what? For that matter I don't even know where the trails are around here. The barn we are at is nice for many reasons but the trails they claimed to have access to are just a bunch of pastures with gates in between them all. When will I get my longer rides in and where will I do them? I kept the hubby up late with all this and went to sleep in a sour mood.
Then this morning I checked my email and read the account of a first time Tevis attempt and completion last weekend. For non endurance people this is the ultimate ride. 100 miles of California heat, canyons, steep narrow trails and dust. 24 hours to complete. It has a 50% completion rate and only a 30% first timer completion rate. While it isn't my ultimate goal it is for many others. It brought tears to my eyes and got the fire burning again and I realized why I love this sport.
You don't have to do anything. No trainers to keep appointments with. No specific saddle. No specific colors. No fancy, expensive show clothes. No training schedule set in stone. No set in stone rules as to how to feed, electrolyte, tack up or condition. It's all fluid and based on what works at that time for you and your horse. This makes it a little daunting to begin with since you can't just call someone up and have them teach it all to you, memorize a dressage test or jump course (not that I think that is easy to do because it isn't) and then follow the path. Everything is trial and error and what works for one rider/horse is almost guaranteed to not work for you and your horse. Try something-note how it worked or failed-tweak-try again. Rinse, lather and repeat.
I don't have to do it a certain way and that is why this will work. Gemmie holds onto her fitness level well and while I might not be able to ride long rides every weekend or get the mileage that I want all the time, I will make sure she is fit and sound for each ride. We may come in dead last, but we will finish and we will be sound and happy.
All those reasons above can be dealt with. I will ride when I can. If it is at 7 pm and it is dark, well Gem needs to learn to ride at night if I want to do 50 and 100 mile rides anyway so we will just get a lot of practice at that. If I need to ride in the pastures during the week due to time constraints, well we will both just have to figure out how to do gates from the saddle for those I can reach and if I have to get off it will give me a chance to stretch my legs. It can work without sacrificing my son for it and I will make it work. Endurance is about you and your horse going down the trail and that's just what we will do (hopefully with me still in the saddle :)
|I lover her crazy mane|