When the going gets tough….stick with endurance
|March 25, 2010||Posted by Melinda under Uncategorized|
- That “magical” bond between rider and horse. I’m not a particularly emotional person. I’ve gotten good at faking socially correct emotions as not to be labeled as “potential serial killer”, but when it comes right down to it I can be a bit… hard. Picturing Minx’s effort at the end of our first, disastrous 50, or thinking about Farley’s first 100 mile completion brings tears to my eyes. It was a YEAR after the 50 before I could accurately describe the 50 without bursting into tears. Horse and rider are so in tune to each other, it’s magic. We are equals (even though I STILL get the final say on speed 🙂 ).
- YOU and your HORSE are ATHLETES. After years of hating my body because I didn’t feel like I was “athletic” enough, I absolutely thrive on the knowledge that my itty bitty arab and my big ol’ butt are athletes. Even doing marathons didn’t give the me sense of accomplishment and physical effort that was *enough*. What’s totally cool is the look of shock on people’s faces when you say “yeah, I did 50 miles over the weekend”.
- Accomplishing something that’s HARD. In a world of lowered standards and consolation prizes, I love how honest and difficult endurance is. It’s HARD and it’s WORTH doing. Especially for someone like me, where not much in my life is hard (right now at least. After all, at 25 the worst is yet to come right?) I LOVE the challenge.
- Seeing country and land you will never see any other way. This is usually the reason I give when people ask why endurance. And it’s partly true. The other reason I do endurance is the sheer challenge, but most people can better relate to the sightseeing aspect. If you love the outdoors and seeing the country, how better to enjoy it than from horseback? Many times endurance rides are held on private land not normally open to the public. I’ve seen so much of California, just because of endurance and I love it all.
- Doing something so incredible that you can’t even make yourself believe you actually did it! Did I really go 100 miles in 17:44? Really? Did that puny, cute arab in that pen really do 100 miles?
- Really REALLY getting to know horses and learning the details of management. As someone who is OBSESSED with the details, this is perhaps the most rewarding aspect of endurance – figuring out the BEST saddle and the BEST saddle pad and the BEST diet and having a REASON for Every. Little. Thing. I do. I love it. EVERYTHING I do with my horse has a reason from what I feed, what bridle I use, to how my saddle packs are constructed. I eagerly devour new research and I’m constantly asking myself how new ideas and knowledge fit into my current management system and what, if any, changes are needed.
- Learning to deal with failure. Sure, you can deny any wrong doing or mistakes and blame the horse for your pulls, and in some cases the horse or bad luck may be to blame (I did a post on this a while back). However, endurance rewards being able to recognize and learn from your mistakes, and from horses you will learn unconditional love and forgiveness.
- You will learn people skills! (I really really needed this). Endurance is a small, close-knit group of people and I quickly learned the value of an apology and not to burn bridges. Endurance is humbling. Endurance taught me to deal with difficult people with graciousness and respect. I learned to listen more and talk less. Endurance connected me with people (like you – my dear blog buddies) and for one of the first times in my life I feel like I belong some where and there are people like ME out there.