Endurance Riding

May 30 2014

Night Before Run for the Gold: Thoughts in Ride Camp

Published by under Endurance Riding

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It wasn’t that I wasn’t excited to come out and ride. I was excited to get back out on the trail with my proven endurance mare, and to be riding a real endurance ride again. But it felt a little odd to be leaving without Jakob. Sure, when I started in this sport, it was just me and Asali, but lately, Jakob has been going to more and more rides with me. I didn’t have my navigator with me on the 7 hour haul today. No one to change the radio stations, or watch the exit signs, or hand me snacks. And when I got to ride camp, I only had 4 hoof boots to put on, one mane to braid, and no one to pack the crew bag or make sure the best snacks were in my saddle bags.

Jakob has a very important job this weekend. He, as shortstop for the Paradise Yankees, will hopefully lead his team into the playoffs tomorrow. He is also looking after Beauty’s wound while I am gone, and making sure his horse gets her antibiotics twice a day. But I can’t help but miss him.

Motherhood has always been a joy for me, but it is also what saved me. I was young and reckless and destructive when I found out I was pregnant with Jakob thirteen years ago. Becoming a mother taught me not only how to love another human being, but how to love myself.

Last month when I took Jakob to the Whiskeytown Chaser, I was pulled at the 12 and a 1/2 mile mark. Four years ago, Whiskeytown had been my first completion with Asali, but it wouldn’t be my first with Dippi. I watched as Jakob rode out with a new sponsor – a woman who was a complete stranger to him. But he rode out there with confidence, knowing that while someone was riding with him, he was the sole caretaker for his horse, Beauty. Jakob went on to ride another 25 miles without me the following day and when I saw him and Beauty cross the finish line, I couldn’t have been happier or more proud. And I realized something in that moment — Jakob suddenly seemed older, more mature, his own person. It occurred to me that while Jakob was my son and would always be, he also was just simply Jakob — a young man, a talented horseman, a gifted athlete, someone I really want to get to know, not as my son, but as a person. Jakob is an individual who has a lot to teach me, as does his brother, Declan. Their eyes are more insightful, their hearts unbroken, their spirits vibrant, and when I enter their worlds unconfined by adult chaos, I feel more whole, much like I do when riding the wind on the back of a horse.

Julie Suhr was in ride camp the night before Run for the Gold. She signed a copy of her newest book for my son, Jakob. My conversation with her daughter, Barbara White, who had asked about Jakob and his horse, Beauty, was what prompted my thoughts before bed that night.

Julie Suhr was in ride camp the night before Run for the Gold. She signed a copy of her newest book for my son, Jakob. My conversation with her daughter, Barbara White, who had asked about Jakob and his horse, Beauty, was what prompted my thoughts before bed that night.

 

2 responses so far

2 Responses to “Night Before Run for the Gold: Thoughts in Ride Camp”

  1. Jeanlaurie Ainsworthon 02 Jun 2014 at 1:53 pm

    Nice article and your son is a great rider and really nice responsible kid. Your words speak volumes and is why I want to see the sport promoted more to youth as I think it has great value in making kids into better people by giving them responsibiity, compassion, a sense of accomplishment and independance.

  2. Char Tafton 02 Jun 2014 at 4:51 pm

    This made me cry! There is nothing in the world like our sons!

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