A dark, deep secret.
You promise you won't hate me?
I like to win. A lot.
This is not a cool thing to admit in endurance. In endurance, "to finish is to win". Specifically, to finish with a sound, happy horse, ride after ride, is to win. I agree. But I still crave blue ribbons. But I'm not going to get them in endurance. I care too much about my horse and having her to sound and healthy year after year. It's hard enough to keep a horse sound in this extreme sport without pushing for a top 10 - so I ride erring on the side of caution. I might end up in the top ten some days if we are having an exceptional ride, but for the most part, look for me in the middle.
My goals in endurance are long term - I'd like for Farley and I to qualify as a "decade team", I'd like to get her to a 1000 miles, and then a 1000 miles after that and a 1000 miles after that and so forth. By confining my competitive desires to dressage, it will keep me content to stay mid-pack in endurance and I have a good chance of achieving these goals.
But it isn't the same as a blue ribbon.
In dressage it's perfectly acceptable to want to win. It's expected. In endurance the trail is reward unto itself. Who in their right mind would ride a dressage test as a reward "unto itself"?????? No, the goal is to win (and self improvement, yada yada yada).
Here are my concerns going into the show on November 1st:
- Farley will behave like a complete maniac, showing the dressage world, that yes, arabs are crazy.
- I will look dingy and dirty because my tack is older and used, my clothes are old and used, and my horse is hairy.
- This is a real possibility - the only functions I take her to where there are lots of other horses is endurance rides..... For the last month I've been trying to separate our endurance from our dressage. I changed her bit I use on the trail. I kept the french-link baucher for the ring and chose a copper inlay, myler type (but not myler) swivel mouth piece, on a D-ring for the trail. Actually, I think the company was TRYING to make a gag out of it, but failed miserably so I get a decent D ring out of it, even if the D's are ridiculously huge. The trail bit is still dressage legal, but the mouth piece is different (but she still likes it) so hopefully, mentally she could start distinguishing what her job would be for the event. There's other differences too - renegades are only used on the trail, cavesson is only used in the arena, breast collar is only used on the trail.
- My horse may be hairy, but she will be very well groomed. I say a braiding demo at the clinic last weekend so I'll do a running braid in the mane and a french braid in the tale. Her forelock will be a cute button. She will have a bridle path, and the hair has been chopped from on top of her wither. I have baby oil for the hooves, and hair gel to stick down runaway hairs. She WILL look show ring ready and I will NOT have to compromise my horse for our winter endurance rides. My boots will be polished and my clothes will be clean. The saddle pad will be washed in a WASHER and not just sprayed with a hose. I will buy a hairnet, bun with a bow, and a black rain cover for my helmet.
My secret, lofty goal? Win blue ribbons. We have a good shot as long as we perform like we did
in this weeks lesson.
Wish me luck.