"You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go"
- Dr. Seuss
.... are the things in our favor. Lets start out optimistic, shall we? While I am aware of the things going against us (tomorrow's post) I also know we aren't all that bad off. Gem has completed 62 miles in her limited career and did very well with each mile. In fact, she improved with each ride and I knew very little back then compared to now. Something had to be going right. So....
- She has great natural recovery.
- I could canter her off the trail and she will pulse in immediately in the mid 40s. That's with minimal actual conditioning and just every day pleasure riding. I doubt she improves on that much and I don't intend to push her like that, but its good to know where she sits.
- Once conditioned it doesn't take a whole lot to maintain it. This works well with my limited free time. All we need to do is slowly build it back up and then maintain. I have a year to do it in. It will be interesting to figure out what works best for her. And for me.
- I've never seen her pass up the chance to drink when available. She will even stop at a puddle on the trail if she is thirsty. This can be an issue with some horses and once you get behind in hydration it can be impossible to get caught back up during the ride. Knowing that she will take care of herself is a big bonus.
- I'm not in 50 mile shape, but I'm also not a couch potato either. With all the hiking and regular riding I do, it won't be hard to catch up. I won't be holding Gem back as I'm flailing around trying to not have a heart attack on her. I also have my running background and can do some decent jogging miles during the ride to give her a break.
- This is both for and against us depending on how you look at it. In terms of my long term goal, it's a positive factor. I have given us a year to prepare. If I miss a day here or there it won't be a big deal. I don't have to worry about pushing her too hard because we have so much time right now.
- I know so very little in the grand scheme of things, but I know a whole lot more than I used to. While the jury is still out on a lot of hot topics in the sport, I know what I think I like and what makes sense. If something goes wrong, I have a good reference base to figure out why and how to improve it.
- I really, really want this. I have such a full life and I am thankful for everything I have. W is a blessing to us and I want to do everything to set him up for a life of happiness. Still, I feel the need for this in my life to help balance everything. Work is work and while it can be somewhat challenging at times, it isn't something I have to strive for and accomplish. I need a competitive outlet. Something to work toward and achieve.
- Again, this is both a pro and a con. On the plus side, her pasture is huge and hilly and she is in it all the time. Her daily exercise level quadrupled just with this alone. Oh, I know she will peak eventually in regards to benefit, but I've already seen an improvement in her butt muscles and overall health. Now to just keep her from getting fat on all that grass.
I'm sure there is more like our relationship being stronger and better than ever and a few other things I refuse to put in writing to avoid jinxing it, but those are the main points. Tomorrow will be depressing as I list what's holding us back, but you can't defeat an enemy you refuse to acknowledge.