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[RC] LD - Bruce Weary

Kathy has said it better than I could. But I'll try, anyway.
All right, here's the deal. In all of the discussions I have seen and heard regarding LD riders feeling mistreated and "looked down upon," I have yet to see one instance where the perceived insult didn't extend, not from how they are actually spoken to and dealt with at a ride, but rather as a result of that rider being miffed in some way about the level of awards and recognition they could or could not garner for having ridden an LD vs. an endurance ride of 50 miles or more. Kathy mentioned that recognition and "spotlighting" her is not important to her, and I believe that is congruent with her being comfortable with the status of LD as it was originally intended--an entry level, less strenuous way of exposing one's self to the sport, a place to condition young horses, re-condition older horses or rehab injured ones, as well as a venue for those who no longer prefer the longer distances for whatever reason: aging joints, limited time, limited resources, or whatever.
Those who want "more for less," and by that I mean wanting more opportunities for winning, BC's, points, recognition, their name in lights, bragging rights at the water cooler at work, etc., for only having only gone half to one fourth (or less) the distance of what our sport has defined as an endurance ride, are going to have to realize that in life, recognition and praise are generally in proportion to the effort given. The same is true in our sport. It's also true whether you have limited resources, PTA meetings, bad knees or you work weekends. Our personal challenges that make it difficult to participate or succeed in endurance riding are not good reasons for "dumbing down" the sport, so that awards and praise can be more easily obtained with less effort. I, for one, object to such an idea. If this seems unfair, I suggest you run a 10k at a long distance running event, and then demand a "marathon runner" medallion at the finish line. Tell me what they say. When they refuse, tell them you are a runner, just the same, and you feel insulted and looked down upon. Tell me what they say.
Try climbing Pike's Peak, and afterwards demanding membership into the Mt. Everest Club. Tell me what they say. Good luck with that one. Do half the work of your co-workers and demand the same pay. (Okay, I know there are already people getting away with that one. Bad example):>
The point here, folks, is that our tiny little group of some 7,000 members are a rare and fortunate breed. We have the titanic privilege of climbing aboard our mounts and, with the tap of our heel, or a gentle "get up!," feeling the loyal muscle and heart beneath us, convey us anywhere we like, for up to 100 miles at a time. Just because we ask.
So the next time you mount up and enter a long distance riding event, ask yourself, "What am I really here for? Personal recognition and glory that is really earned 95% by my horse, or the chance to see some pretty country with like minded riders, and the spice of a little competition thrown in?"
I know how I would answer that one, and how many of you would, too. Bruce Weary


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