Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Follow this!!

I just figured out how to put a button on here to follow this blog!  First of all, I'd like to thank my current followers.  I share DNA with 2 of the 3!  Click and follow!! 

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Looking farther down the trail.

Oh you are all going to be so sad when my daughter gets her cast off next week and I no longer have time for introspection on my endurance rides because I'm too busy riding 2 horses!  
Sangre de Cristo Mountains
- Did I mention I love this sport?)

I rode the Sangre Scenic Endurance Ride last weekend at Music Meadows Ranch, in Westcliffe, CO (they are a guest ranch - check it out!  You could go there!) and I am pleased to report no injuries to horse or person.  It was fabulous quiet time, just me and my horse. 
When I first began in endurance, I never imagined myself a top competitor.  Since having children, this belief has been strengthened as I have little time to train, and am afraid of pushing my horse too fast.  However, I have grown up in this sport, the motto of which (officially) is "To finish is to win."  And we live that motto.  There's a place in the sport for every person from the first place finisher to the last place "turtle" (who usually gets a special award!).  The sub-motto (is that a word?) of endurance would be "ride your own ride," meaning don't get sucked along at a pace that you know is too fast for your horse, ending up in getting pulled (disqualified) or worse hurting your horse.  Ride your own ride is a pretty good motto for life too, if you ask me, but it's not what came up on this weekend's ride so I'll save it for later. 
Music Meadows Ranch

So I rode my own ride.  I used to think that the way to be really safe was to start way behind the "front-runners" and stay back there all day so as not to get sucked along at a faster pace than was comfortable.  Within the last few years, I learned that the big gaggle of riders up front spreads out after the initial melee, and it is quite possible to ride your own ride and start in the front.  You end up riding pretty much the same ride, but you achieve a higher placing.  It is, in the words of Will Farrell in a parody of an ever-so-well-spoken former president, "STRATEGERY."  So Strategery it was.  And thanks to my work with Louis Wood about responsiveness and leadership with my horse, I could be confident that I would survive the start.  Soon, Allie and I found a comfortable spot in between two groups.  By this time, she had forgotten that she was worried about leaving her pal Morgan back at the trailer, and settled into her crazy big 10 mile an hour trot (we believe that Allie and Morgan actually share a brain.  It appears to be wireless, and has a range of about 20 feet.).  Well this ended up with us passing the group in front of us.  The first place group in front of us.  Were we really riding in first place?  ME?  Nah, I'm the one with the two kids who is just happy to complete!!!  But, as I tell my up-and-coming endurance rider daughter, "ride your own ride" means you get out there and do your best on that ride, and compete with yourself, not with the other riders.  Sometimes that's last place.  Today, maybe it was first place!
Home away from home.  That's Allie. 
The tent is for the kids!
Riding out in front means you actually have to watch the trail.  You can't just follow the riders in front of you and figure that THEY are watching the trail. Fortunately, the ride managers marked this trail superbly and it was easy.  Still, much of the ride was through sagebrush meadows, where things to attach markers to are low to the ground and hard to see.  As I rode through one particular meadow, I found myself having to slow down and look carefully for the next ribbon tied to a sagebrush.  This is not an efficient process.  So I thought I would try to see if I could tell where the trail went back into the trees on the other side of the meadow.  Lo and behold, once I found that spot in the distance, I saw a lovely trail of pink ribbons clearly visible!  I thought "I need to remember to look farther down the trail."  And I was struck by how true this is for life in general.

We get so stuck worrying about all the things that are happening RIGHT NOW.  Things we don't like, don't want to do, aren't working out . . . and we don't stop to think about the fact that these are moments.  They pass and resolve.  It works out . . . sometimes it just doesn't work out the way we had pictured in our heads.  Sometimes it works out in a way that is difficult.  But it always works out.  Most hardships are temporary and transient.  Temporary may mean 10 years, but it's still temporary.  We could get into some existential philosophy here, but I'm trying to make these blogs shorter.

So look farther down the trail.  When we see events in perspective of our whole lives, they represent a really small piece.  Learnining to accept the ups and down of this grand life experiment leads to a whole less anxiety.  So ask yourself a bigger question:  not what percentage of my life has been spent in this event, but what percent of my life has been spent worrying over events that come and go?  That's a bigger number.  We can't control events.  We certainly can control how much energy we give them.