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Re: New AERC Member

I have to agree that even with my horsey experience (I've been riding since
I was born almost and had my very own pony at 5 thus earning my "Hard
Knocks" degree via Professor Bess at a young age) and well, that's been a
few years ago.  We won't mention, ok?  This will be my fifth season and I
imagine I'll still be learning new stuff til the day I die!  I absorbed
everything I could about endurance riding before I ever started...a lot of
reading and a lot of conditioning rides, a lot of internet surfing, that
sort of thing.  Even that with my many years of "experience" did not prepare
me for the rigors of endurance riding!  My horse looked like shit by the end
of the season...I simply did not know how to compensate for him.  I think
also it took awhile for his "metabolism" to adjust itself.  I only did 25
comp and LD that first season with one 50 (which I thought would kill me...I
was actually glad to discover I had a displaced rib during that ride or I
might never have attempted it again...50s aren't so bad when all the ribs
are where they belong!).  I am still learning so much...every year about
this time (just after the Great Lakes Distance Riding Assoc. awards banquet)
I start rereading my books (I own Nancy Loving's Go the Distance and Lew
Hollander's Endurance Riding from Beginning to Winning) and highlighting
more stuff that either I "get" now or that maybe didn't sink in before.  I
also start rereading the stuff in the Ridecamp archives, the stories (maybe
look for some of my own past stories) to remind myself and pump myself up.
The only thing about endurance and distance riding in general is that in
order to really learn, you need to jump in with both feet and JUST DO IT.
For some this may mean crewing and volunteering first and I wish I had done
more of that before I started.  But nothing takes the place of actually
getting out on the trail on YOUR own horse and learning what it's all about
even as the one gal did by drag riding for 50 miles!  :)  There is always
something new to learn and I am anxious to see the results of new studies
being done on endurance horses around the country...I hope Susan doesn't
mind my saying again how much her articles have helped me in my own learning
experience...sometimes it's trial and error but when you find that
"formula", that "strategy" that works for you and your horse, it is such a
gratifying experience.  And you don't find it your first season or even your
next and if you are lucky enough to be able to ride more than one horse in
your career, then you will always be searching for it.  It's FUN learning,
even when the learning part doesn't win you anything but a completion!!  Or
a smart pull that saves your horse for the next ride.  :)  As a new AERC
member myself only a few years ago, I have never felt "less" here though we
have our discussions and differences of opinions (LD, for one!).  But when
the shit hits the fan, endurance riders stick together...I have NEVER and
doubt I will EVER find an equestrian group as tight knit and welcoming as
endurance (distance) riders!  Yeah, there will always be a few who may rub
you the wrong way or think they know everything but I have found that I can
learn even from those people.  Good luck to Megan and hang in there with
us...AERC really is a great organization!

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