Tomorrow morning will see one very excited and very nervous woman driving her truck and trailer from SC to TN to sign in for the 50 mile Barefoot Shine and Wine ride. Look out here we come!!!
I worry that I am setting myself up for disappointment. This ride has been such a long time coming that it holds more weight in my emotional health than it probably should. The more I think about the significance of this ride, the less it seems to be centered around our arrival at the finish line safe and sound.
Yes, the goal is and will continue to be finishing 50 miles sound and happy in 12 hours or less, but honestly even if we only make the first 20 mile loop or heck don't even get to start, I feel like I've already won the war.
This particular war started nearly 5 years ago when I brought home a fugly little bay pony who didn't listen a darn under saddle and wasn't safe out on trail either in a group or alone. She scared me more than she thrilled me and more times than not I left the barn in tears vowing to sell her.
Gem's transition throughout the last 5 years has been a remarkable one in a physical sense, but really she hasn't changed a whole lot personality or maturity wise. She does things now she never would have done 5 years ago, but it isn't because she grew up, got bold or became a different horse. No. It is because I grew up, I got bold and I became a different rider.
The war has never been with Gem. It has always been against myself. My timidity, my fears, my lack of bravery. I was afraid to go out alone on trails, I was afraid to canter in open spaces, I was afraid to drive the truck and I was afraid to go far away from home.
And now I look at myself and all the things Gem and I have done to get to where we are today - standing on the brink of a massive adventure. Tomorrow morning I will pack up my horse and drive 5 hours alone to set up camp at a ride where I know nobody and then ride 50 miles alone and bring her home. The person I was 5 years ago never would have done that, but the person I am today is ready to go.
So, while I will be insanely disappointed if we don't get to cross that finish line 50 miles away and bring home a completion, I feel as though I have already won. All I really care about is bringing Gem back home safe and sound so that we can enjoy the next 5 years together.