Enduranceintrospection.com - Full Article
By Patti Stedman | January 2nd, 2014
Having done some expos and endurance clinics, a couple of interviews and a bit of mentoring over the last year or so, I find that riders contemplating our sport fall into one of two categories: One group believes it is all about racing and they want to know how to get out there and win as quickly as possible (a tiny minority, thank goodness, who quickly move on to a mentor other than me) and the ones who are scared to death that this is an extreme sport and that they could hurt their horse in attempting to compete.
This is no big surprise.
When I take a gander at the people coming to the clinics or coming to the table at the expo, they are predominantly women and mostly of a certain age. When I say “certain age” I mean the age at which they’ve worked hard, perhaps raised a family, have earned the time and money and resources to be able to consider dipping their toe into our sport. It is an adventure that they are contemplating, in many cases a big bold leap of faith, and it is very exciting indeed. I am empathetic, having reached a certain age myself.
Many of them are concerned that their breed of horse is not ideal for endurance competition. I wave my hand dismissively when they bring this up and shake my head, having started my distance career with a very drafty draft cross mare (“Bertha Butt” as she was known to horses using her as brakes at a few rides). I reassure them that if their horse is sound, biomechanically, and metabolically capable of eating, drinking, peeing and pooping their way happily down the trail (perhaps not all at the same time), they probably have exactly the right horse, as long as their goal is “to get around.” Almost always they nod vehemently. “Oh I just want to finish — do you think we CAN?”...
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