Sharalyn Hay addresses the #1 question endurance riders get asked: “Why on earth would you want to ride your horse that f^%$(& far, anyway?”
I know in my past posts I’ve touched on what it (kinda) takes to get into endurance. I’ve briefly talked about the horse, the equipment and (kinda) what it’s like to actually do a race (kinda).
But the the question I get asked the most is “why”? Why on earth would you actually want to ride your horse that f^%$(& far anyway?
The easy answer is: I’m an addict. Pure and simple.
Actually if you ask any endurance rider why they do it the answer will be the same. We seriously are addicted to the sport. Think about it… you’d have to be an addict to spend the kind of money that we spend to “race” our horses on a given weekend… all for bragging rights. Because God knows no one is making any money doing it.
And it all starts innocently enough. You start trail riding and really enjoy it. Pretty soon just dinking around on the trail at a walk is kind of boring. So you trot a few minutes here and there at first. Your horse acts like an idiot the first few times but pretty soon you work through that and then you’re trotting a few minutes down the trail with no issues and a happy horse.
Then you realize that only trotting a few minutes down the trail isn’t enough. You up it to 10 minutes. Then 20. Then you wonder what would happen if instead of only doing an hour trail ride you did two hours? Pretty soon you’re doing 4 hour rides and trotting half of it. Then you start adding in some canter in between the trots because that is kinda fun too. And you’re having a great time.
Then it happens.
You meet another person way out on the trail who looks like they are having fun, too. You stop and chat for a minute and they inform you that they are an endurance rider. They talk about racing distances you didn’t even know were possible. And they also talk about how much fun they have while doing it. And then they go about their merry way not realizing what they have done to you. Now you must find out what this “endurance” thing is all about.
So, you read. You join groups. You get online and ask questions. You start buying equipment. And the plan starts to form in the back of your head…
Next thing you know, you are at your very first endurance race helping out and volunteering. You soak it all up like a sponge and marvel at the fit and in-shape horse and rider teams that come in and head back out again, doing 100 miles. You want to do that. You must do that. You start training for real and getting your horse legged up while scoping out the endurance calendar in your area to see if they have a starter races of 10 or 15 miles.
You find one and you go. And you have a blast. It was basically like your trail rides but with more people. You can’t wait to try a Limited Distance race. Next thing you know, you’re at one and getting ready to head out for your first 25. It also goes great and you decide to do another one. And then another one. After the third or so LD you decide that 25 or 30 miles just isn’t far enough. You want to do more!!
And it’s then that you realize that you, also, are an addict. Welcome to the club. We’ll see you at the next race…