Saturday, December 20, 2014

100s for the Rest of Us

By Patti Stedman

Some time ago, one of my favorite vets took me aside and gave me a little chiding: "Why no more articles about 100s? I see you've been doing more of them."

"Well, Doc, you know, not everyone wants to hear from me. I think I had a little overexposure with the article series, don't you?"

"People should know that it's not just about trying one, it's about continuing to do them . . ."

Or something like that.

Well, it took me a year but here you go.

Like most horsepeople, I do the majority of my analytical thinking while mucking stalls, and today was no different. I thought a lot about how getting involved with horses, and most recently endurance, has taught me a great deal about people, about horses, about myself and about life itself.

For me, a lesson I learn again and again is that people take up endurance riding for wildly different reasonsÑfor ego, for the sights, for money, for the fun, for the challenge, to win, to finish, to prove something to someone (likely themselves). Like everyone else, I have my own motives.

A friend of mine, an eventer/dressage rider/foxhunter whom I keep threateningÑI mean offeringÑto take on an endurance rides, reminds me to always keep my "ultimate goal" in mind.

Anyone who checks my ride record with AERC will quickly discover I'm not in it for the thrill of reckless speed or the glory of winning. When I chance on stories about FEI rides and COCs and sub-12-hour 100s and passports, I feel as if I am reading about an entirely different sport. And in some ways it is. A sport I admire, but don't actually participate in, nor aspire to.

For me, riding 100 miles is about so many things, the least of which is winning or finding an international caliber horse, or going abroad to compete.

For me, riding 100 miles is about asking a profoundly challenging question of myself and the horses that I happen to own...

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