<% appTitle="Ridecamp Archives" %> Ridecamp: RE: [RC] Youth

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    RE: [RC] Youth - Linda Cowles

    What on earth is wrong with riding for its own sake?
    Do you believe that only people who compete work hard at perfecting their
    riding skills?
    Is *that* a good thing to teach a kid--that being good at something for the
    pure joy of it doesn't count, unless they can enter a competition?
    One does not have to be training for some specific end in order to
    thoroughly enjoy an activity and be devoted to it.
    Or for that matter, playing games of various sorts with one's friends
    *without* some damned organized league and point standings and all that rot?
    Whatever happened to just being a kid?
    Riding endurance brings out the kid in me...  I love to ride endurance (though haven't this year, unfortunately)  and while I ride a top-ten caliber horse, it's not about competing at all.... I've reached lunch in 8th place and goofed off for 90 minutes.
    So, maybe children riding endurance isn't about competing...  maybe kids do it because they love it, and love it because it's about adventure and challenge, riding new trails, getting to travel and  camp with their horse and family, enjoying membership in a nomadic band of folks...
    Perhaps it's having non-stop attention from an adult they respect or admire for however long they're in the saddle...
    I use to love to watch Maryben ride in to a vet check with a train of kids... THAT is one of my first endurance memories, those kids looking so satisfied with who and where they were... endurance impressed me because it was so inclusive.
    Seeing Maryben and those 5 kids... that's when I realized I could be a kid again, if only for 50 or 100 miles... years later, Julie Suhr reminded to be a kid when we had a spontaneous dash for 8th place at a ride two years ago... not many kids can out-whoop Julie Suhr, or go flying out of sight so unexpectedly!
    Maybe it's all about being kid-like, no matter how old we are. My friend Steve from Monterey dresses in tights befitting a jester, even though he left his 40's behind a bush on some long forgotten trail. Trilby abandons age time and time again, along with so many others.
    Kids love attention, they love opportunities to glow, to be seen as competent and worthy.... to be accepted as a peer, at least on some level. And to laugh, explore, relax...sit around camp fires and...
    Don't be so much of an adult that you forget how much FUN endurance is. It's a hell of a lot of fun.
    Who knows why these kids ride... they're individuals and all have their own reasons. I seriously doubt, though, that they ride endurance because either they or their parents cherish competition.   
    Maybe they do it for the adventure and sheer joy of it. That's the reason I do it.
    Kids are people too. Small ones, with less experience.... but a great sense of adventure.

    Linda Cowles
    Horse 'N Hound 
    New, Consigned & Used Tack
    9155 North State St.,  Redwood Valley, CA 95470
    EASY  access with Hwy 101 frontage!
    Store: 707-485-0347               Fax:  707-485-4053


    Re: [RC] Youth, EgyptianMirage