Everything I Need to Know About Life, I Learned From Endurance

Ask anyone that has done yoga: Flexibility is a learned skill.  Some people are naturally more flexible than others (this would be everyone else other than me), but everyone has to do some degree of work to keep improving their flexibility.

And it’s not just physical.  Mental flexibility is also an acquired skill.  And I’ve found that nothing in my life has taught me that more than endurance.

I’m sitting here this morning under a low-lying level of thick, gray clouds — literally and figuratively.  Monsoon season is upon us in Arizona, and we’re being taunted by those clouds and their accompanying thick, oppressive humidity into thinking rain might be on the horizon if we’re lucky.  However, even if it were the brightest, sunniest day ever, I have to admit, I’d still be sitting under a pile of gray storm clouds hovering over my head.

Why?

Because according to my Life Plan, this weekend was supposed to be very different than what is actually happening.  Life Plan dictated that, at this moment, I should have been standing around with my cup of coffee, inhaling silty red dust, braiding manes, packing crew boxes, and trying to remember how to breathe at 7200′ elevation.

Tevis.

This was going to be it.  My year.  My one and only shot at that silver buckle with Mimi.  Our chance to defy those odds stacked against us; to pit ourselves against the wilderness and the clock; to experience all the tension, nerves, excitement, and worry as participants, not just as crew members on the sidelines.

That obviously didn’t happen.

Circumstances (school, work) even conspired against me this year to keep me from going up and crewing and enjoying the chaos in that fashion.  I’ll be following things vicariously this year, via the webcast.  The good: I’ll be making money instead of spending it.  There’s my silver lining.

But I will admit: I’m sulking.  This has been something I’ve wanted so bad, for so long…it’s been very tough to let go of this particular dream.  I know that I’ll find my Tevis horse…someday.  And get to the Ride…eventually.  But my heart knows it’ll never be the same.  Even when my mind knows that putting it on the shelf is the right decision, my heart has yet to be fully convinced.  Such is the way of optimists and dreamers, I suppose.

I haven’t even ridden in six weeks: A bad combination of icky weather and pony antics.  Both ponies are currently mooching their position on the Equine Disability List for all its worth.  It started about a month and half ago, when Beamer got kicked in the shoulder, and flies invaded the tiny little gash on his shoulder.  Within a few short days, it had grown to an irritation the size of my palm.  Naturally ,this spot is right on the point of his shoulder — an area of constant motion, and an area that’s impossible to keep bandaged and covered.

After several unsuccessful weeks, I started brainstorming.  I raided the garage, and the dresser that holds all of my extra tack, for my old show supplies, and one sacrificed Lycra mane tamer later…

His bandage is now staying put for 24 hours, and things are finally starting heal.  Just in time for him to whack his face on something and get some kind of nice puncture wound.  Naturally, this would be right at the spot where his s-hack and halter sits.  More mane tamer bits to the rescue, and my task this afternoon is to see if my latest in Beverly Hillbillies horsewear will work to counter this newest challenge.
Meanwhile, the pony was jealous of all the attention Beamer was getting, and decided that she wanted in on the action…
I have yet to figure out what she stuck her leg into to manage that kind of scrape.  She’s somewhat sensitive on it…that’s a bony area, and she probably bruised herself in the process of flailing and whatever manuevers it took to manage such end results.  I last trotted her out in hand on Tuesday, and she was slightly off on circles and uphill.
I don’t even have to be signed up for Tevis for the gremlins to attack.
And hence, my continued absence from regular blogging.  It’s difficult to muster up the kind of cheer and enthusiasm needed to write an entertaining blog when the most exciting thing that happens is finally obtaining a good pair of nippers.  (Hoof trimming just got so much easier.)  And, I’ll also admit to having quite a few feelings of teeth-gnashing and envy for those whose circumstances are much more fortunate than mine…that is, anyone that still has the good luck to be attending rides with sound and capable horses.
Yes, I’m whining.  Yes, I’m frustrated.  The fatalistic part of me knows it could be so much worse.  It was so much easier when I was a child, and could stomp my foot and pout about the unfairness of life.  Now, being an adult means learning to take such situations with grace and dignity. 
That said…I want to ride my pony.
I’m playing with some new design elements for the blog.  I used to be pretty good at page design and HTML, but it’s been a long time and I’ve gotten pretty rusty.  Bear with me as fiddle around until I find the colors and styles I like.  It may take a while.  I think I might have settled on one that honors Mimi’s and my purple color scheme.  But I do need to do something about that top picture.  Eventually.  :)

3 thoughts on “Everything I Need to Know About Life, I Learned From Endurance

  1. HUGS to you.

    Believe me, I know where you are coming from. We were two weeks away from Huck's first ride when we found out about an injury we didn't even know he had! Reading everyone's blogs made me envious and depressed, but it was a blessing at the same time. Jonni at Trot on Hank was a godsend, seeing what Hank did last season after colic surgery really boosted my hopes for a return.

    Hang in there, eventually all with right itself …

  2. I'm so sorry – I didn't realize that this was such a hard time for you.

    It WILL happen someday and I'm learning that when things happen, it's usually perfect timing.

    I love your blog and will read whatever you post! Even if it's a bit “darker” for a while because that's YOUR journey and where you are right now. And I'm interested in your journey.

  3. My dear friend…. I wish I could take this season of life and fix it. Wave some magic something to make the pony better and also plant a small money tree in your backyard. However, you've already identified that double edged sword we call owning endurance horses. When things are good, they're fantastic! But the nature of the sport makes the minor things just terrible, and we don't always go through the same troubles together (would that we could pull our horses up, healed, and sound when our friends horses are). Those weeks where *something* is off every time you ride makes you want to give up trying to do this sport, for maybe more that a little while. But you are an endurance rider my friend, and that is not just a hobby – it's a way of riding, of looking at things, and of living. I have every faith that you and Mimi still have many more seasons of FANTASTIC, together, in this sport, and that you will tearfully accept that buckle someday. True, it may turn out to be on a horse that is vastly different from the one you always immagined you'd be on (in those mental Cougar Rock photos we see in our heads – I *know* you have one!). But we dream big when we're young and sometimes, we are blessed with not only that first horse who takes us so far, but many more horses to accomplish our fantastic dreams. You will endure this season my friend and, with luck, you will continue to dream big. Because no matter how frustrating the set backs, the lay ups, and the gremlins are, endurance riders will suffer it all to chase that one big dream: the moment on a ride where horse and rider are truly working together, moving as one down the trail towards that distance finish line. And Ash – I know you are an endurance rider. :)

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