EnduranceInstrospection.com - Full Article
By Patti Stedman | January 22nd, 2017
No, don’t worry, you haven’t slept through the sanctioning of a new AERC-sanctioned distance.
Ultimate Goals, or UGs, are a concept stolen from my friend Kathy Viele, an accomplished combined training (“eventing”) and dressage rider, and a veteran fox hunter.
Some time ago, she penned her sentiments about her Ultimate Goals for her riding and her relationship with her horses. I loved it so much, I begged her to let me use it for a sidebar for an Endurance News article I’d written. Her equestrian pursuits are in a different discipline, so her terminology may be a bit foreign to purist endurance riders, but her concepts are spot on for many conscientious horsepeople.
Here’s what Kathy had to say:
Lots of people get stressed by competition, concerned about judging and test riding and politics and expensive equipment, get frustrated with progress (or perceived lack thereof) or scores. And often they quit having fun riding and spend more time frustrated than enjoying themselves and their horse. It many cases, the rider has lost sight of, or more often has never established, their Ultimate Goal (aka UGTM).
My ultimate goal is to have a happy, athletic horse who is a pleasure to ride and do things with. A horse who enjoys our time together, as do I. I feel I owe my horses good care and an ongoing effort to improve my riding and horsemanship. I owe them consideration (of likes and dislikes and personality and quirks) and sympathy and good care. I do not owe them Olympic-caliber riding, so I don’t go down the road of feeling guilty that I’m not a Great Rider—I am on an ongoing quest to improve and I am getting better. I try not to get caught up in a single score or a single competition. When I compete, I like it when things go well and we can show off our training and where we are, but my UG is not winning a particular class or a particular competition or even a year-end award. If those things happen, they are nice, but they aren’t my UG. And if things go poorly I try to learn from them and keep in mind my UG...
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