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Do I still want to do endurance?

Christian Love
You all have heard from me before and many of you from the East know my horse, Althea (people accuse me of feeding her rocket fuel).  We have been competing in endurance for five years now.  Here is my issue.  I have now started to see some wear and tear in her (despite wonderful shoeing, Cosequin, Adequin, conditioning, great feeding program etc.), dealt with one mild tie up situation, and have seen some things happening to horses at some races that I just cannot get out of my mind.  I am considering leaving the sport.  The pro's of that are: whe will physically not be as stressed, I will not have to watch stupid people push their horses too hard and then wonder why aweful things happen, and frankly life would be easier.  The con's:  Althea loves to go down the trail (and fast!), I love the people I have met through this sport (the ones who truly love their horses and take every precaution to ensure their safety and health, and I am an extremely competitive person who thrives on the sheer challenge of the sport.  I have not raced since the Fall Biltmore and actually am now pregnant with my first child.  I have ridden, but mostly flatwork with just alot of bareback relaxing trail rides since then.  

My point is, am I crazy to be going through this dilemma?  Should I just buck up and push ahead?  Has anyone else wondered if their horse (whom they consider a best friend) really enjoys pushing themselves this hard?  And is it worth it knowing the consequences of arthritis, navicular, or other long term pounding effects of this sport?  I know I ask my friends who are DQs (dressage queens) or hunters, some event riders and even some vets who say I am crazy to put my horse through this if I really want her to last and be healthy for the long term.  But, what about other endurance riders?  What do you all think?    

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