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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Million Dollar Question

Matt, my boyfriend, understandably is a bit upset Farley tying up. He doesn't like seeing me unhappy, especially about something he can't "fix". He asked me whether it would be better to purchase a horse that was bred on both sides for endurance, and perfectly suited for endurance in order to avoid "all these problems" and retire Farley for recreational riding. I should assume that cost was no object, AND the horse was not pre-conditioned because "I don't think you wouldn't like endurance unless it was hard".

It's a really good question.

I don't think it's fair to say that Farley has had lots of problems and is unsuitable for endurance. This is the first serious issue she's had, or the second if you count the minor bow early into our relationship. Minx was definitely unsuitable and I had "lots of problems" but I also learned a lot.

I learn more with each horse and I don't repeat (at least not often) mistakes of the past. I shudder to think what I might have done to a really really nice horse early in my endurance "career". Farley is talented, but she's also very forgiving which makes her a perfect "starter" endurance horse.

Given the choice, my next endurance horse will preferably come from a well known breeder and trainer with strong endurance connections.

But that's no guarantee that "stuff" won't happen.

I guess I've accepted that some vet bills and emergencies are inevitable when it comes to horses, no matter how perfect the horse. I'll make mistakes

I think that's the bottom line for me - I believe that God gives me the right horse at the right time. Minx taught me the dangers of pushing a horse too far, how to handle disappointment and take responsibility for my actions, and the joy of just being on the trail with no other motive than just to enjoy the trail. I no longer take my completions for granted. Farley is teaching me how to trust, to be grateful, and how to have fun. She's showing me that little things DO matter because they add up to something - either something wonderful like finishing 100 miles barefoot, or something not-so-wonderful (like a tye up).

Someday I'll have another endurance horse, and it might be bred up the wazoo. Or it might not. But I do know one thing - it will benefit from the lessons learned from Minx and Farley.

Truthfully, it takes the "bad" times to appreciate the good. I'm eagerly awaiting my Tevis buckle. It means more to me now than ever.


  1. All of our horses benefit from our experience from the ones that came before.

    I've always thought the biggest learning curve was in the first 1000 miles. But then, each time I reach another 1000 miles I can look back and reflect on all that I have learned.

    It's all good though, we keep learning and the horses will keep benefiting from it. You are doing really great so far.

    Try to stop worrying so much though!!! :)

  2. I've got more than endurance 2,000 miles now, and can still see that I've got a lot to learn! Sigh.

  3. fyi - SG no longer reads RC, so not sure you'll get a lot of advice back either from her or others on your Se question.

    You have enough info already (IMO) that you'll be fine if you follow through.

    I think you should stop questioning whether or not Farley is suitable as an endurance horse or not. You are figuring her out, so don't stress so much about it. You don't need a horse bred up the wazoo for endurance to do lots of miles. Being competitive is one thing but for the other 98% of us, it mostly comes down to management.

    One of the most important lessons I learned on the '01 XP is that you make your own luck. Sure, luck plays a part in everything with horses but IS the details that really matter. You can't learn those details without some hard knocks along the way.

  4. I think saddles are very important and these should be of very good quality.I have two English saddles which are very beautiful.

  5. Karen - totally agree with you. Trying to explain that to a non-endurance person is hard though - I felt that Matt's question merited a thorough thinking, and I have come to the conclusion that nothing should prevent Farley and I from completing another 1000 miles together (or more) with proper management!

    Thanks for the vote of confidence about the Selenium information. I wanted to make sure I didn't have a major hole in my thinking and it sounds like I'm on the right track.


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