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[RC] 100 miles - Dot Wiggins

A few thoughts about 100s.
Everybody ought to do one now and then, it makes the 50s a piece of cake. <bg>
 
When all this started, in the dim, dark, olden days,  most of the folks involved were horsemen (unisex term girls),  many rode in their work life, most rode in the big outdoor world all the time.
 
Most of the horses that became endurance horses grew up in the big out door world, and they worked hard before they went to play on the trails.
 
These points are part of why Endurance started here in the West,  riders who knew about long trails, horses that grew up in a way that started them ready for long trails, and most of all, the open lands that made the trails possible.  LD rides didn't come till later.  It was common to start with 50s and many started on 100s.
 
Fast forward. 
 
Very few people ride for living today.  Many don't learn to ride till they are adults.  Even those lucky enough to have the skills already don't live where they can ride much.
Most have jobs, and family, the time is hard to come by to condition horses for long trails. And if you are starting from scratch it's harder yet.  And suburban horse keeping is expensive.
 
Many horses don't get to grow up where they already know about hills and rocks and stuff, and have tough feet and are "legged up" before you ever start to ride.  They have to be taught about trails.
(Becky Siler's post summarized this nicely)
 
All this being said,  no wonder a 100 miler seems too far for some.  According to many posts on ride camp,  25 miles seems an impossible distance.
 
In order to keep an interest in 100s we need to build a new population of riders to add to those doing 100s now.
(And to take the place of those of us that don't want to ride 100s anymore)
One of the ways is to get more folks into LD rides, they have to start somewhere.  This will help to get more horses with a base for distance.
I'm not sure how to encourage them to move up to 50s, but that is a next step.
While many of us will never try for the International events, I think the exposure will encourage interest in 100s, and we need to support them.
Riders can't get into the "big time" without some experience in local rides, and that should help entries at 100 mile rides.  
There seems to be more entries in 100s in this area, NW, since the Pan Am is going to be here.
Will be interesting to see if interest continues while the AERC Championships are in decent hauling distance.
 
I don't think 100s will go away soon.   I know there are riders who will take up the challenge.