Liberty’s Gotcha Day

Two years…and what feels like a lifetime.

Two years since a whirlwind day trip of leaving my house before dawn, driving up to Kingman, hanging out and chatting with my boss for several hours, and then relieving her of one marshmallow-fluffy, dreadlocked, out-of-shape mare who hadn’t been ridden in a year…who took a few minutes to be persuaded to hop in a strange trailer, but once was in, traveled without even a peep…then making the drive back down to the east valley and unloading said mare while there was still enough daylight for her to explore her new surroundings, then settling her in a stall for probably one of the first times in her life.

That was only two years ago, but it feels like it’s been forever. I mean, technically I’ve known Liberty for almost a decade — we did our first ride together in 2013. But having her actually be mine? The connection we’ve forged just in the last two years wasn’t something I thought was possible in that relatively short amount of time.

I brought her home with low expectations when it came to endurance. I really just wanted something I could ride, and be able to retire Mimi with dignity and not make her keep schlepping my bum around. Maybe we could dabble in a few LDs again — I suspected that in most of our previous attempts, she hadn’t really been solidly conditioned as well as she could have been, and was too self-preserving to overrun her conditioning — so I was curious to see what she might be able to do given a chance. What she’s done has blown me away. And furthermore, we’ve been having fun. To me, this is everything that I have wanted endurance to be for me…the chance to see some beautiful trails, to challenge myself and my horse, to be able to craft a conditioning plan to be able to meet goals, to have fun with rides, and ultimately, the deep connection and bond that forms when you and a horse have spent so many hours together.

As with all of life, I have no idea what the future will bring…if I’ve learned anything over the years, it’s that plans have a way of changing, and nothing is predictable…but to enjoy things as they happen, and to focus on the now, versus getting too hung up on what may come. And the enjoy every ride.

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