Monday, February 8, 2016

Seven Grand (With The Raven)

Jose, Tough Sucker

February 5 2016

I didn't have any particular goals when I started riding endurance in 1998, except to ride, ride, ride. 

7000 AERC miles later, it's pretty much the same: all I still want to do is ride, ride, ride (with The Raven).

If this were my Oscar speech*, I'd have a long list of thank you's that you'd have to sit through. But I'll shorten it up for this 7000-mile landmark.
Dudley, City of Rocks

I'm a bit of an unorthodox one in the endurance riding world, as I've never owned my own endurance horse. To be sure, I do own Stormy, The Most Beautiful Horse On The Planet, but he's a Thoroughbred ex-racehorse that I didn't feel the desire or need to try to turn into an endurance horse. 

Instead, I rode for the 'normal' endurance people, who inevitably have always had extra horses that needed Rode. So I Rode and Rode and Rode, Lots and Lots and Lots of training miles, and 7000 AERC endurance ride miles, with The Raven, in Texas, California, Washington, Nevada, Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, and Utah (and even a 12.5 mile ride in France!).

Jose, Tough Sucker

I rode the USA endurance rides with The Raven on 36 different horses (and many, many more miles on horses for just training rides, but not endurance rides). Some were good horses, some were naughty horses. Some were favorite horses, some were not. Some horses I rode, with The Raven, only once, for 50 miles. Two horses I rode, with The Raven, for over a thousand miles (Royal Raffiq and Jose Viola!). I have learned something from every single one of these horses, and on every ride, I still learn something.
Jose, Death Valley

I've gotten to know some fabulous people through endurance riding. I've gotten to do some terrific rides, with The Raven - some memorable standouts are all 5 days of the Owyhee  Canyonlands (alas, this ride is no longer 5 days long) on Jose one year with Connie and Finneas; the Moab Canyons (alas, now gone - a crime!) on Jose with Steph and Batman; the Virginia City 100 on Royal Raffiq; Tevis on Big Sky Quinn, generously shared by Nance Worman.

It just goes to show you that endurance riding is a catch-all kind of sport. You can ride any kind of horse, any distance you want, with any kind of goals you want, or no goals at all. You can ride for awards, or you can just Ride. You can ride with a Raven. You really don't have to own your own endurance horse. You can ride just about anywhere around the world. And best of all, you can just Keep On Riding! Preferably, with The Raven!
Zayante, Death Valley

*No, I've never had a desire to be an actor, but I'm prepared to give an Oscar speech

But if you really did want to listen to my whole list of thank-you horses, this would be it:
Windswift Barak (Rocky), Masrita, Zayante, Graywing, Senorita Margarita (Maggie), Royal Raffiq, Rocketman, Fire Mt Redman, Oak Hill Kindred Spirit, FC Cloud, Camille BC, Fire Mt Odyssey, Oak Hill Quigley, Definetly Spice, LJ Jasuur Haraka (Jasbo), Krugerand (Charlie), Rip Tyde, Fire Mt Fadrika, Nature's Quicksilver (Quickie), Jaziret Bey Musc (Rhett), Rushcreek Mac, SSS Razzmatazz (Razzie), Jose Viola, Amazing Kon, Big Sky Quinn, Z Blue Lightening, Thunder's Hattrick, Kustom Kavalier, Phinneas, MiLon, Amara's Sonata (Sunny), Marble Leiten (Bodie), Ravenwood Dark Desire (Batman), DWA Saruq, Rushcreek Drover (D), Belesemo Dude (Dudley!)

And, technically, The Raven actually has 5 more AERC miles than I do, and he has two Tevis buckles, where I only have one! 

But that's a story for The Raven to tell later.
Zayante and Raffiq, Death Valley