Jenn at Stories from the Saddle has asked why we compete/partake in the disciplines we've each chosen.
I love the outdoors. I love exploring. I love finding beautiful vistas. I love riding my horse.
Ever since I was a small kid gallivanting through the woods behind my house play-acting some Brian Jacques novel, I always fantasized about, "What if I had a HORSE to run through the woods on?!" nevermind that horses totally didn't fit into the Redwall schema and an otter (my usual character choice) would probably not be able to ride said horse.
Horses were always at the forefront of everything I did outdoors though. Horses and the lingering, What if I had a horse right now to run around on?!
And then I read the Black Stallion books and fell in love with the relationship Alec had with The Black. And then I read the Red Stallion books and wished so hard I could traverse the mazes on Azul Island and find a lush island interior complete with a beautiful herd of horses and one horse that would become my partner and with whom I could gallivant around the island on.
And through my teenage years when I spent my free time purposefully getting lost in the woods on trail rides with my two close friends, I was the happiest ever. Trotting and cantering everything that wasn't a downhill, up and down mountains, through boggy creeks, stinging nettles, over boulders, and along ridgelines. Though I still longed for so much more.
And so, endurance seemed like the only logical choice. I didn't even know it was a thing until 2007. I mean, Hidalgo came out in 2004, but that was Just A Movie, right? But then, our area started the Ride Between the Rivers in 2007. And in March, Sonya said I should train Stan for the 30 mile ride. And 30 miles seemed both crazy and the greatest thing ever. And so I rode that Appendix QH on the trails 5 days a week for 5 months in preparation. I knew trotting was important and I knew hills were important, so we trotted everything except the downhills and we climbed up some wicked steep mountains. And then on race day He was in the best shape of nearly any horse there and we would have won that damn thing with ease if it hadn't been for the whole shoe debacle.
Riding a horse - my horse - over the mountain and through the woods for miles and miles and hours and hours makes me happiest. The bond we share to conquer terrain like that with that kind of mileage is outstanding. And that's why I do it.