Velocity

Velocity equals Distance over Time. Yes, that is massively simplified down, but the only thing I’m worse at than chemistry is math and physics. So that would be velocity, as I understand it.

thumbnail_IMG_7267

What is the landspeed velocity of a frustrated-but-persistent endurance rider?

This summer will be 15 years since I’ve been involved in endurance riding. A few years of competitive trail prior to that, but the summer of 2004 was what officially kicked off my love affair with endurance, starting with a trip down to Australia, where my dad and I got to gallop endurance Arabians on the beach and ride through the rainforest; then I came back home and crewed Tevis for the first time.

From that point forward, I was hooked. Competitive trail was fine, but I had been introduced to the idea and the world of “further, faster.” I scoured the internet, sniffed out every information resource I could find, ramped up my pony’s conditioning. The endurance fire had well and truly been lit…and it’s pretty much been ups and down ever since.

This may be one of the most honest posts I write when I say endurance has been amazing, exhilarating, fulfilling, an invaluable learning experience, and has left me on top of the world. It has also been the most disappointing, frustrating, disheartening experience that has left me a demoralized, crumpled heap. I know I’m not unique in that, and it’s definitely helped in the past to talk to other people and find out some of the “behind the scenes” where they haven’t had an entirely smooth go at it either.

thumbnail_IMG_7231

This photo of Roo and me at Tevis last year showed up in this month’s issue of¬†Endurance News. I was quite surprised to see it, and I’ll admit, I started crying after I read the quote.

“There is in every true woman’s heart a spark of heavenly fire, which lies dormant in the board daylight of prosperity; but which kindles up, and beams and blazes in the dark hour of adversity.” — Washington Irving, The Sketch Book, 1820

I’ve had so many ups and downs in this sport that sometimes it’s hard not to feel like it’s a constant uphill battle in trying to reach my goals. And there’s many times I don’t feel like I’m particularly strong or resilient in dealing with it. But I guess the fact that I still persistently keep on chipping away at it, or refuse to throw my hands up and walk away in disgust, speaks to a certain amount of…whatever you want to call it. Fire. Stubbornness. Tenacity. Optimism. Reincarnated Whack-A-Mole.

And I’ll admit I have some big dreams and lofty, some might even say slightly ludicrous, goals, especially given the fact I have one mostly-retired pony and am currently at the mercy of relying on catch rides. But that also provides some great motivation to get out there and do something about it. It’s currently small steps…small steps like finishing my online equine anatomy course, one of the requirements for Masterson Method bodywork certification.

57787342_10110758859775661_3141158773272346624_n

I still have many more small steps towards that final certification, but each one completed is still one step closer towards my end goals.

It can be altogether frustrating at times, but I’m not ready to hang up those big dreams. I’ve held on to them for too long, and worked too hard to get to this point, to give up on the ideas that make me sparkly-eyed. Things like:

  • Pioneer ride finish (on the same horse). I’ve never done three days in a row, let alone on the same horse. I’ve done a few back-to-back days, but on different horses, and one back-to-back on the same horse…but we didn’t finish the first day.
  • Tevis finish. Last year was good in that it really knocked some of the edge off the slightly-obsessive view and pedestal I had put this ride on…but it’s still my Original Endurance Goal. I will happily aim for multiple finishes…at some point…but for starters, I’d just be happy with one buckle.
  • Virginia City 100. More unfinished business. And I just adore this ride. The history, the atmosphere, the challenge…but it’s also way less intense of an environment than Tevis, and a little more doable on a regular basis since it doesn’t need quite the level of crew personnel and involvement.
  • Big Horn 100. Another one of the “big 100” rides, at least in my book. Wilderness, self-sufficiency, amazing scenery, challenging trail.
  • I love 100s, or at least the idea of them. We’ll talk more when I can actually¬†finish one. But having a couple of horses going, to where I’m able to chase a few 100s a year, would be my idea of awesome.
  • This is really far out there, especially at this point, but…going down to Australia and doing the Quilty. I would love to someday be in a position to do a horse trade of a Tevis (or other 100) ride for a Quilty ride…or do a horse lease or something for the Quilty. But some of my initial fascination with and introduction to endurance came about down in Australia, so it kind of just seems fitting.

Big dreams, yes…but also big motivators, and something to keep me buckled down and going during this certification process. Just don’t ask me to even think about velocity calculations.

February

Here we are, at the end of February, and I find myself running out of days to squish in a post to stick to my “at least one post a month” streak that been going now for seven and a half years. That’s pretty much unheard of for me, who often has the attention span of a gnat, and difficulty seeing ideas and projects through to completion. (Ask me how many half-finished craft/creative projects I have sitting around. Better yet, don’t.)

It’s not that I don’t have anything going on — I’ve got plenty keeping me busy right now. I just don’t know how much of it is considered interesting, blog-able content. I’ve crafted this blog around my endurance shenanigans, and right now, those seem to be few and unpredictable. That said, having a ride season that, only three months into it, has already run me through the gamut of emotions, was enough to finally galvanize me into action towards making some changes and additions in my life.

This whole week, I am participating in a 5-day Advanced clinic on the Masterson massage method, and intend to finish this year what I started last summer with that first two-day intro clinic — getting my full practitioner certification in the Masterson Method.

Not only is it something I really enjoy doing, but it’s a way of working with horses that doesn’t involve training, or vetmed (both things I’ve considered in the past and ultimately rejected). I hesitate to say it out loud and jinx myself, but I feel like I might have actually found that niche for myself that I’ve been searching for. Not only that, but my aim is to have it be enough of a financial boost once I get going with it that it allows me to once again pick up endurance under my own power (and ponies).

So we’ll see. That’s pretty much the biggest thing on my plate right now. I’ve had some good times this past month — I’ve gotten Mimi out on trail a couple more times (which is a couple more times than last year, huzzah!), but mostly she’s enjoying being my Masterson practice pony; I’ve had a couple of days of going up to the Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show and hanging out with friends; it’s rained quite a bit (which is much more like the typical rainy February that I can remember growing up); and I’m doing my typical scurry around to get ready for the AERC Convention the early part of next month.

So with that, a few photos from a ride around the neighborhood last weekend, before I scuttle of for another clinic day.