ridecamp@endurance.net: [endurance] Why Endurance? (long)

[endurance] Why Endurance? (long)

Fri, 26 Jul 1996 22:23:53 -0400

Can a person survive two entire weeks without endurance? I found that I
cannot. I've just returned from a non-horse vacation (my spouse being
non-horse) during which I had time to think about why I do this.We visited my
husbands family, many I met for the first time. My husband, who knows that
Endurance Rider is one of the main ways I define myself, often introduced me
as "My wife Jane, she races her horse in 50 mile races.". As much a I would
like to tell you that the repose was a reverently spoken "Really? That sounds
fun.", I have to admit that it was more often "Good Heavens, WHY?".

Why do I do this? There is no money to be won. No applauding crowds. No
writeup in the local paper. But the rewards are more precious to me than any
of those things. I do something few people can. I compete in a sport that
demands an enormous commitment of time, sweat, and pain. I have been to
remote areas that most people never see, and I experience a unique, almost
spiritual, bond with another creature. The opportunity to meet with endurance
enthusiasts is a major motivation for me to attend competions. The community
of endurance riders (and don't forget the support crews, where would we be
without them?) is the most wonderfully diverse I have ever had the pleasure
to be a part of. Anyone who cares for their horse, and the other competitors,
is welcomed with open arms. There is no required equipment, or dress code. My
friend, an unrepentant cowboy, is as at home at an endurance race as I am in
my tights and biothane. Endurance people hang out. They sit around and tell
trail stories before, during and after every competition (yeah, you should
have seen the size of that hill/rock/snake/river/horse eating paper plate).
An endurance award cannot be bought. It does not take a lot of money to be
competetive in endurance. Success in endurance takes skill, experience,
intelligence and most of all miles.

All of those miles are the biggest reason I *do* Endurance. In 1992 I
watched the Olympic Marathon. I shook my head, slightly bemused at these
crazy folks who would go out and run for 26 miles. Rideing was of course a
different matter. This year I rose at 7:00 a.m. every morning of my vacation
to go running. Most of the time I exersize every other day, but I found I
needed the time every day that I spent alone. I needed the miles. It wasn't
the same as going out with the horse. The terrain wasn't as beautiful, I
missed the speed, I missed the compainionship of having the horse. But I
needed the miles. I needed the solitude, the chance to be alone with my
thoughts, the indescribable feeling when everything is working together
right. Perhaps endurance riders are the modern day equivalent of the old time
cowboy. We spend hours in the saddle away from society, away from everything
except ourselves. It gives you a lot of time to search your soul, decide
whats right or wrong, what you belive in, who you are, what you stand for.
Thats why I define myself as an Endurance Rider. I am other things as well,
but none of them define me so compleatly. Endurance is not just something I
do four or five times a year, it is a way of living. I have become a better
person since I became an Endurance Rider.

Mabey thats why our community is so warm and giving. There are no quick
rewards in endurance. It attracts good people and makes them better.
Endurance has done that for me. Why do you *do* Endurance?

Jane Sliver-Bagford
Ogden, Ut