Sucking it Up and Getting it Done

When I first started endurance I jumped in head first and learned as I went. My first 25 was funny in hindsight. I showed up having had no dedicated conditioning. In fact, I had never even ridden Gem solo on trail at that point. Most of my “miles” were riding three days a week in the arena at the barn.

So there I was. Wintec AP saddle. Leather girth. AP cotton pad. Leather bridle and reins. No electrolytes. No clue what her heart rate was.

But I did it. Rode all 25 miles, fell off at mile 21 when she spooked because I was too tired to stay on, but we completed. Took 8th place in a big field too. Of course I had no clue that meant anything because the ride did awards for up to 6th only.

This little black bunny randomly showed up at our house last week and is living under our shed. Its curious where he came from because he is obviously a domestic bunny as no wild ones are big and black. But our house has a 1/4 mile driveway and is in the center of the 30 acres so he would have had to hop a very long way to get to our shed.  I’m worried about the little guy though. 

The point is I went out there looking like an idiot and completely clueless, did the thing and came away much more educated because of it. I traded the leather bridle for a nylon halter bridle. Bought electrolytes. Learned to take her heart rate. The next ride went better. And the next after that better still.

For some reason this hasn’t crossed over into jumping and eventing. I’ve tentatively put dozens of shows on my calendar and then talked myself out of every single one of them. I’ve convinced myself we aren’t ready. Maybe we aren’t. Probably we aren’t. But I’ll never know unless I go out there and do it.

Pete watching me through the trees as I cut that tree down with the ax.

There are a ton of schooling series going on right now. In fact, winter is my best shot at low level, low stress schooling shows. I saw another one pop up in my news feed and decided to do it. They offer an 18″ amoeba level three phase and it is only 2 1/2 hours away in GA.

Sure we are going to look green. Sure we are going to be out of place. Sure there is a 75% chance we will get eliminated in xc due to refusals. But I won’t know if I never try, so I double checked that Dusty was off that weekend and signed up. They are hosting an hunter pace on Sunday as well and I really want to do that in addition to the HT Saturday but logistics are killing that a bit. It is just far enough away that driving back and forth two days in a row doesn’t make any sense yet it is too close to home to justify a hotel for an overnight stay. Technically I could do what I did for endurance and sleep in my truck, but I have done that in the winter before and it sucks. No interest in freezing my tail off all night and then riding a hunter pace in the morning. It is worth it for an endurance ride, but not for that.

It started pouring buckets overnight Saturday and didn’t stop until after lunch Sunday. Sunday morning it was a nice icy mix too. Yuck. It did give Wyatt some great puddles to play in Sunday afternoon though

So…we will see if we die at the end of the month or not.

20 thoughts on “Sucking it Up and Getting it Done”

  1. I hear that a lot from the other boarders- they all want to do (xyz, usually a show), but when it gets time to actually enter, they back out saying they’re not ready. I’ve always been more of the dive headfirst and smooth it out later, but I understand the nerves (having scratched 4 attempts at moving up to BN due to being terrified). I do think you’ll never know if you’re ready or not until you actually try. You might totally surprise yourself or you might bomb (not saying YOU, just the general you 🙂 ), but you’ll never know until you get out there.

    Where in GA? There were a couple schooling shows out I was looking at since a few people recommended some venues there.


  2. You will be okay. You can walk over 18 inch jumps if need be (ASK ME HOW I KNOW LOL). Just have fun and get out there. the rest will follow!! I can’t wait to hear all about it. Fun!

    PS we had a white and black huge bunny in our neighborhood for awhile (Now we live in the suburbs but still it blew my mind to see this bunny in my yard). Stupid ass people let them loose often. He was huge and we tried (me and a neighbor) to catch him but never could. He had a wild bunny girlfriend (we had no idea what sex he was honestly) so cute. But then he disappeared. A lot of people were trying to catch him so I hope someone got him and not a fox or something. ALSO we have gotten 3-4 small baby bunnies in my neighborhood (Black, grey you name it) we have caught and taken to a rescue. CRAZY.

    I hope your black bunny is okay and is savvy enough to live. At least he picked a nice venue to live in 🙂 HA HA


  3. I worried about going out there into a completely new discipline, too, but after going to see an event or two and seeing the kind of competitors I’d be up against I realized that a lot of them weren’t much better off. Hell, I even had it better than a few it looked like! I bet you’ll find the same and I know you’ll do great! The majority of the eventing crowd is super welcoming and encouraging. I’m sure you’ll fit right in and find help throughout the day if you need it ❤


  4. everyone starts somewhere, and the more we do it, the easier (and more FUN!) it becomes! i promise the only people who would be sitting around judging other riders for “not belonging” are the people whose opinion matters the absolute least. the vast majority of ppl are there for the exact same reasons as you: to get experience, to learn more about the sport, and to enjoy it. and ain’t nothin wrong with going into an event feeling like…. “yea we are going to have trouble and possibly be eliminated at element xyz…” sometimes we just gotta show up for the schooling miles, ribbons be damned. i hope you go!


    1. The funny thing is that I don’t even care about ribbons. I throw mine away. It’s more a feeling like I’m wasting time and money going if I don’t have a good feeling I will complete the entire thing. Plus you know…I don’t want to die but I doubt that happens often at 18”


  5. Why not do it and see what happens. You know it’s a learning experience and so you will absorb a lot. I had to laugh at the distance- anything over an hour and I need a place to stay!


  6. You won’t die but you definitely will learn! I think its always good to keep in mind where you are at, but I never let it stop me from showing. Important training feedback comes from showing! (like how I only had correct canter leads 75% in practice but still went and showed undersaddle anyways lol)


  7. Good for you for giving it a shot! You can definitely walk over 18″ jumps if need be and sometimes you just have to get out there and do the thing in order to gain confidence! My best advice is read the eventing rulebook, make sure you know your dressage test, and HAVE FUN! Can’t wait to hear all about it! 🙂


  8. Woohoo so excited for you to get out there! As my trainer always says, there’s no way to practice showing except for actually going to a show. There are plenty of shows we attend with zero expectation of placing or getting points or anything like that- it’s just to learn the ropes and get comfortable putting some miles in. It’s a really hard environment to replicate at home.


  9. If I waited until I was “ready” I would literally never go to any shows. I’m sure there are some out there who might say I should be doing that, but whatever. I think schooling shows to get exposure are a great form of practice. I have gone to shows with the goal of doing poorly expressly to school an issue. I also go to some shows for fun and for the chance to improve myself. I generally have no chance of doing well so I make my own goals.
    There was a neighborhood in my home town where a bunch of domestic bunnies had been turned loose and been breeding for years. There were white and spotted and other fun colored bunnies all over the place.


  10. Your first LD sounds a lot like mine. And my first 50? Don’t even get me started! I cringe thinking about it now, but it made me a much more attentive rider and horse owner. How else are you supposed to really, truly learn?


  11. You won’t die! You can do it! You already said you have done it before. You can do it again and you will come away smarter. Go have fun with your horse and get through safe. I know exactly how you feel about just having to get out and do it. That is what has me going to France this summer. And riding in a clinic in a month. We can do it!


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