Endurance Riding

Oct 31 2013

A Top Ten Finish

Published by under Endurance Riding

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The Tevis Cup served as this turning point for me. I disappeared for awhile following the ride. I found myself lost in a lot of reflection. I did a lot of soul searching. What I thought would be the end of a two year journey became the rest of my life. That historic trail through the Sierra Nevadas left me asking myself a lot of questions, and I knew it would only be a matter of time before I returned to that trail that will forever call my name.

 

In the week following Tevis, I spent time with my friend Bren – just time. We sat around and talked, we napped on the couch, we ate, we went to the spa for massages, we did a little shopping, and we watched television. When I returned home, I decided to cut back my hours at work and officially become a part time nurse. I wanted time. Time to home school my boys the way I wanted, time to spend with family, time to write, time to ride, and time to finally start my own business teaching horsemanship.

 

In September, after our family lost our first beloved animal, a beagle named Ellie, my husband and I took the boys for a scenic drive up the 32 and found a place to camp for the night. A couple weeks later, I took the boys to Sequoia National Park. It was just me, Jakob, Declan, and the giant trees. We played a wicked game of Spades amongst the foothills of the park, with cards that displayed Ellie’s photograph. We endured a tough hike up to Marble Falls and back, and the three of us squeezed into a two person tent at night. I learned a lot about my boys in those two days, and they became more than just my sons, but my best friends.

 

In October, after finally getting Lightfoot Horse Farm in full swing, I returned to the sport I love – endurance. I entered Asali in the Quicksilver Fall Classic 50. The drive to the ride was brutal – long, hot, and stressful. I arrived at ride camp exhausted and hungry, doubting if we were ready for a 50 since we hadn’t done much riding since Tevis. But, after a pep talk from the ride manager, my friend Peggy, I decided to get myself some food and rest, and then just do it.

 

There were three things about the way we rode the Quicksilver Fall Classic that probably contributed to our Top Ten finish. One, I had decided to just simply get out there and ride; I didn’t let the stress of competition get to me, but instead decided to adopt a more carefree, relaxed attitude. Two, I knew I was riding Asali more balanced than usual — I could feel it, especially on that first loop. This was not something I was doing consciously; it was happening naturally and I knew it was because I had started riding English again, on my friend’s Arabian, Dippi, who had come to live with us after Tevis. Third, I was doing a much better job of pacing Asali – keeping her moving at a consistent pace. This I was doing consciously, but I had no idea we were in the Top Ten until we crossed the finish line.

 

The last few miles of the Quicksilver Fall Classic got to me mentally – it was hot, much hotter than anyone had expected. There was little shade and I had not properly electrolyted myself or my horse. The trail seemed to go on and on and when I finally saw camp in the distance, I did not feel that “high” I usually feel when approaching the finish line. It wasn’t until I was told I had come in in sixth place that I felt elated. But the elation quickly turned into concern when Asali didn’t pulse down right away. My friend, Sheila, jumped in to crew for me and together, the two of us sponged Asali over and over in the shade. The cool water finally brought her pulse down. I opted not to show for Best Condition, but we received our completion, our first Top Ten in a ride that had more than two dozen riders competing.

 

I left the Quicksilver Fall Classic the next morning and having to return to work that night, I wasn’t given the time to properly reflect on the experience. What I do know, however, is that I learned a lot about myself at that ride. I learned more about Asali. And although I pulled away from ride camp with feelings of exhaustion and dehydration, I suddenly had the urge to jump back into endurance competition with everything I had.

2 responses so far

2 Responses to “A Top Ten Finish”

  1. Linda Straub Boisaon 04 Nov 2013 at 6:25 pm

    O Grasshopper……..so eloquently written once again…..and gaining insight into life so quickly. Cutting work to part time to enjoy the things that REALLY matter in life….family, friends, horses, and life. At this rate, I may need you to teach me a few things 😉

  2. Ann Byrnson 19 Nov 2013 at 4:27 pm

    I enjoyed reading this and am glad you and Asali made it in the top ten-Congratulations! Mom

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