July 30, 2014

Boots and Saddles Blog Hop: 5 Questions

One of my all time favorite bloggers (Mel over at Boots and Saddles) posted her first blog hop and I am very game to join in (well...actually she posted 5 Q&As on her blog and I commented that she should make it a blog hop because I enjoy them a lot).

Here it is!

Name: Sara

Age: 32

Location: South Carolina

Family Situation: Hubby, 2 year old son, 2 horses (the Dynamic Duo), 3 cats and 2 dogs

1) How long have you been riding? Endurance?

I've been riding since I can remember. My aunt had a farm and horses and my mom let me go spend time there during the summers since I was itty bitty. I started just hanging around and then got ponied around and eventually was graduated to riding. My time spent there was magical and my aunt and uncle took me on literally thousands of miles of trails. We went to Gettysburg to ride on the battle fields, WV mountains, Acadia Maine and so many local trails. I was hooked and give thanks to them for showing me the way!

I started endurance in 2011 with Gem and rode 2 rides that season (not as an AERC member since they were in October and the season was over so it was cheaper to pay the $15 fee than sign up) followed by a Ride and Tie the next spring. I had terrible experiences in ride camp at both, so I gave it up until moving to the South and now have done my first ride here in July.

2) What does a normal training week look like for you?

Sporadic at best. What I would love to do is get 3 rides in a week with two 5-7 mile rides on weeknights and a 10+ mile ride on the weekend. This has happened a hand full of times. What happens in reality is either a hand jog of around 2 miles or a shorter 3-4 mile ride once a week on the weeknight and then a 6-10 mile ride on the weekend. That's just my reality working full time with a toddler.

If an event is looming in the near future, I like to do a 15ish mile ride about 2 weeks out, but don't see the point in pushing her much farther.

I used to run as well about 2-3 nights a week, but then it got really hot and humid and I got really lazy so that stopped. I hope to do that again. Usually 2 miles.

3) Any advice for endurance spouses?

I'm a bit spoiled with this. The hubby is an ultra runner and I have been up at the crack of dawn to crew for him and take pics and such so he fully understands what is needed. But my advice would be to try to get involved somehow. Whether it is helping to crew, take pictures or just being there to hear the same ride story for the umpteenth time and still pretend to find it interesting. Think of your own hobby that your spouse doesn't do and how much you appreciate their small involvement.

4) Where will this sport be in 10 years?

I see it going one of two ways:

a) AERC dissolves and it goes back to local clubs running local events with more old school rules and regulations. Why? Due to internal fighting and elitism which doesn't allow the sport to grow and instead causes the rise of costs and the decline of participants.


b) More and more divisions of distances. 100 still remains that gold standard, but in an attempt to grow the membership more "intro" type rides of 10-15 miles pop up and become more popular. I think this is a good thing and you can see this happening every day in the running world. Runs are becoming more family friendly and offering 1 mile fun runs, 5ks etc...which don't detract from the 50 milers, but instead allows more people to enjoy it.

I also see the use of better maps for trails including GPS markers, more criteria added to the riders card for vetting and lots and lots of miles of trails to be enjoyed.

Personally I would love to see the addition of more "man versus horse" type rides like the Vermont 100 and Prescott AZ.

5) What was your best race and why?

I've only done 3 endurance rides and two RnTs, so my choices are limited, but I'd still say my first was my best. I was so nervous and ill prepared, but the feeling of elation of completing has never been matched to date at another ride. I think having no clue made it al the sweeter. I learned a ton in just one ride and my riders high lasted for over a week afterward.

My 2nd ride was cold, rainy and miserable and the attitude of the fellow riders was so terrible it scared me off.

My last ride I just did was fun and a great re-introduction but I didn't "ride my own ride" and it caused added stress to the entire thing making it not as much fun as it should have been.

Bonus Question: What is you favorite beer?

Sorry, but I don't actually drink beer. The few times I have I found Alaskan Amber to be the least displeasing. If I'm going to drink, you will find a vodka martini of some sort in my hand.


  1. Ooohhhh i really like "...or just being there to hear the same ride story for the umpteenth time and still pretend to find it interesting." So very very very very true.

    I really hope AERC doesn't go away. I have to be honest and say that the internal fighting and politics isn't any *worse* than other mostly volunteer run organizations I've been a part of, so perhaps it's not as dire as it seems. I do find it troubling that endurance focused organizations (such as ride and tie) are smaller and smaller - only 20-30 teams at the ride and tie championships this year - however, I know that "recreational" orgnizations in general have shrank over the last 5 years in part due to the economy (sorry - I hate that phrase too). It will be very interesting to see if things bounce back over the next 5-10 years and I think will be a truer measure of where the sport is going (or shrinking) than the trend over the past 5 years has been.

    I hate the divisions that AERC has like weight. I think that regional divisions make sense, and distance divisions. The weight division makes NO sense and serves only to dilute achievements and add cost. So many heavy weight riders get off and run a lot. So many feather weight and light weights stay on. Heavy weight riders are heavy weights because they are really fit guys, or really heavy people who can't get off. It seems completely arbitrary of how weight actually affects the horse, and how whether/how that horse had to carry that weight during the ride makes the whole weight division thing a mute issue and a "fake" division in my mind. I like the idea of breed awards. Especially in a sport dominated by arabs, it's fun to know that you could compete in the appaloosa category, or standardbred, or mustang. Just like it's fun to have a division based off of where you live (since the availability of rides in each region varies dramatically). I thought the ride and tie divisions at championships made a lot of sense - there was a pro/amatuer designation, as well as gender (because running and gender is related). As well as a "century" award for the people (combined ages over a century). Some fun divisions in endurance that I could think of off the top of my head (beyond breed, greenbean, regional) could be: The silver division (combined horse and rider ages over 50), sponsors (sponsored either a greenbean in their first ride or junior the most mile - credit given to partial ride miles from vet check to vet check), competed at the most different ride distances etc. (all better than the BS weight division I might point out, from the standpoint that we could use divisions and awards to promote what we WANT in this sport).

    OK. Too much coffee today. And I'm in danger of being a rambler.....

    Thanks for adding a post to the blog hop. It's gotten me over to a number of different blogs that for some reason aren't on my feedly!

    1. Thanks for reading!! I've been stalking your site for years now and have learned a ton from it. I also don't understand the weight divisions since nothing has been shown to actually matter. Honestly, I don't really care about awards and such. Maybe if I was competitive I would, but since I am a solid mid to back of the pack rider, I just don't care. The last ride I went to gave an awesome award to the middle of the pack finisher which I though was really cool. I do this for the trails, time with friends and time on my horse.