Sunday morning I swung my leg up and over Gem for the first time in nearly two months. The pattern is completely predictable and goes like this:
Gearing up for e-ride: must ride all the miles all the time
Finishing e-ride: I love my mare, I love this sport, I love life. Must attend every ride on the calendar
About a month later: Ride, eh..that is a lot of effort. I'll just pamper her instead
A month after that: I really should ride my horse.
And so it went again this time around.
I've also been in a little bit of a funk lately with regards to my riding. I was so focused on doing a 100 mile ride that now I feel a little lost. I have nothing to strive for right now and it feels awkward and not pleasant. Trust me, I have in no way, shape or form mastered endurance. There is still a ton to learn and do, but I don't know. I just feel a little blah about it at the moment. Like I reached my goal and I am now meandering around trying to find where I fit again.
What do I want out of endurance at this time? I know Gem can do the distance and do it with gas to spare. Oh we will get pulled at some point for something. Hopefully it won't be anything career ending. But it is coming. She decides not to eat or drink enough. We go too fast or too slow. We slip and fall or step on the wrong rock at the wrong time in the wrong way. I have no delusions of a perfect record unless I stop doing endurance right now and never enter another ride.
But all my rides to date have been entered with the very real question of "can we do this?" The answer now is "yes". I know we can and now to simply go out to finish seems a little...I don't know...it is just not enough. I miss the challenge of not knowing what to do, how to do it or if we even can do it. I miss the steep learning curve that I have been riding both up and down since 2012. I should be happy that I can now go out and enjoy the ride without worrying about everything and then tweaking what needs tweaking without worrying that we shouldn't even be there.
But I'm not. Instead I find myself missing those days of constantly learning. Of striving to reach a new goal. Of everything being new and having to figure out all the missing pieces. Of making big changes with a big effect. Of looking way out in the distance to a peak that I am dying to reach and knowing that I am a total newbie, but that with a lot of hard work and dedication I will someday find myself up there. That the only thing holding me back is me.
And so, with all of that rolling around in my frazzled brain I found myself texting my BO Sunday morning asking for a lesson instead of hitting the trails at Biltmore. I found myself sitting in a different saddle astride my favorite mare asking both our bodies to do things they never had before. And I found myself swinging my leg back off of her 90 minutes later with a massive grin on my face and an old familiar fire in my stomach.
I found a new home. Endurance will never be abandoned. I will keep eeking ever slowly toward my decade team award hitting a 50 or 100 every year. I will find rides that call my name for some reason: friends in attendance, new trails, beautiful scenery, difficult terrain. I will sign up for those and keep both Gem and I on our toes with distance riding. But in the meantime, I have also found new territory to explore. New goals to set and reach. New venues to explore and a whole new puzzle to fit together.
I can't wait!!!