In the Night Farm…Your Ride is Here.

Four Years and a Lifetime Ago

Owyhee Fandango was my first ride.  It was 2008.  I rode Aaruba.  We finished the LD in the top 10.  We looked happy.

On this eve of Fangango 2012, I’ve been flicking through photos from that ride.  So much has changed.

Back then, I had a battered, old stock trailer and was grateful for it.  I was afraid to tow a horse and was grateful that Travis agreed to drive.  We slept in a tent.  Late the evening before, we had to put Aaruba in a site-provided pen because he couldn’t handle standing tied to the trailer, and we had no portable corral.  I rode in cotton stretch pants because I couldn’t afford breeches.  My horse wore Easyboot Bares that I needed help putting on.  I had a habit of arching my back terribly in the saddle.  I didn’t know where to park or check in or find a grease crayon or where to hang out during the hold.  Many people ignored us, but some helped, and I was grateful.

Mostly, I was grateful to finally, finally, finally participate in the sport I’d read about and strived toward for years.  Endurance is one of those things you can usually make happen, using what you have, if you want it enough to keep trying.  And I did.

I still do.

This morning, I will leave for Fandango again.  I’ll drive myself, but Aaruba will stay behind.  I’ll have two mares in an upgraded trailer, with fence panels and a camper for lodging.  I’ll shoot for three 50’s instead of one LD.  I will wear breeches.  I will not arch my back.  I will know where to go and the names of a few friends.  I will still keep my fingers crossed because no matter how many miles I accumulate, every ride is another adventure.

For every chance I’ve taken and every chance I have left, I am grateful.

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11 responses

  1. Liz

    You inspire me.

    May 24, 2012 at 5:50 am

    • That is one of the highest compliments I could receive, Liz. Thanks so much.

      May 24, 2012 at 6:10 am

  2. Horseman

    What is the saying about most living a life of quiet desperation? You? No. Talk about pulling yourself up from your bootstraps, you are an inspiration. As far as your being ignored on your first ride….you know horse people, they may have been all eaten up with themselves and their animals. I don’t know how to transition. It seems like we need a mentor program. Yes you look happy. Many more.

    May 24, 2012 at 7:00 am

    • Thanks, Horseman. You make me smile. 🙂 There actually is a mentor program through AERC, but I’ve never used it. I’m not sure how many people do. Endurance rides seem to attract a pretty tight-knit group with plenty of cliques (hey, it’s human nature to hang out with people we know, right?) and it can be hard to “break in” socially as a newbie. I try to change that by seeking out newbies to sit with at dinner, but I don’t always manage.

      May 24, 2012 at 7:51 am

  3. K.C.

    I am in the purgatory position myself right now. I had a great desire to do endurance then the reality of it hit – mainly the reality of the cost. When I take into account the time I have to take off as well the cost of the travel and the ride itself, it is not an affordable activity for me. At this point in my life finding time to train more than once a week is a challenge I have not been able to overcome – no training equals bare minimum competitiveness. My other concern is that my horse did not seem happy, particularly during the 2nd loop. My horse’s attitude is much more important than cost so now I’m wondering “yes, he’s bred for it, but does he LIKE it?”. I’ve decided to explore some other equine activities to see if there something that suits my budget and time constraints as well as my horse’s interest. I will probably be at Pink Flamingo and Old Selam this year just because they are such fun rides, but the rest will just have to do without us. 🙂 Have a fabulous time and kick butt at Fandango!

    May 24, 2012 at 7:44 am

    • We’ll miss you, KC! I hear you on the expense and time — it took a long while and some serious scraping for me to get started. Changes on the job front helped. Your time will come too, if you want it to. 🙂 As for Gus, bear in mind that some horses come to like the sport better as they get fitter and get “into” the competition.

      May 24, 2012 at 7:49 am

  4. Shana

    I remember that ride, and meeting you! You have come a lot farther then me since that time 🙂 I agree with the others in that you are an inspiration.

    May 24, 2012 at 8:20 am

  5. hartsongranchmontana

    I also agree that you are an inspiration. I love to read about your adventures with your horses and especially liked hearing that there was a time when you didn’t quite have it all together!

    Although I don’t have aspirations to be an endurance rider (I am old, fat and lazy 🙂 ) I appreciate reading about someone leaping into their dream even though they may not be “perfectly prepared”. It is really the only way to get something done.

    Thank you for sharing, Tamara!

    Happy trails,
    Lorie

    May 24, 2012 at 9:37 am

  6. JackeE.G.

    When I think I can’t…I think about YOU.

    May 24, 2012 at 12:55 pm

  7. I agree, you are definitely an inspiration! I love your blog 🙂 Can’t wait to hear how Fangango 2012 goes!!

    May 26, 2012 at 9:42 am

  8. DianneW

    I hope you also kept your eye out for the rider who didn’t know where to park or check in or find a grease crayon or where to hang out during the hold and offered some help. Most would be grateful.

    Ah, I see you do seek out newbies to sit with at dinner. Good for you!

    June 11, 2012 at 2:06 am

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