STOP.. and breathe…

G’Day All

Huh. Long time no post…

So what have we been up to?

Weelll.. Things have not gone exactly to plan. Some things have, others not so much. Joe and I successfully finished the Easter mini marathon – 3 days of riding, 40kms (25 miles) a day. He went well, (once we ironed out the “I need to canter sideways” gremlins on day one) and it was, as I had hoped, a great way to build a fitness base from which to launch our 2013 season. Which was planned as: an 80km in late April, then 120km in May, then a couple more 80s and a 100km ride, before having a crack at our first 160km (100 miler) in September.

Huh. We never got to the planned 80km in April: in the week prior, we had Pony Club camp with the kids: everyone had  a great time, and I took Joe and had some much needed flatwork lessons, so that was all good. BUT, for everything to fall into place, we needed to be out of camp by 1 o clock on the Friday (after the end of week gymkhana) and on the road to the ride base, 230km away…

We left at 2.30.

Then the dear old truck developed ANOTHER mechanical issue, and was limping along at snail’s pace. By 4.30 poor Pete was less than halfway to where we needed to be, and we still had to stop at a friend’s place and kick out the 2 ponies before pressing on to the ride. We were looking at arriving at 8 o clock, in the dark, vetting in in a hurry on the morning of the ride with a horse who had just spent a week at a camp, way out of his normal routine, and then endured 4 hours on the float.. Plus tired rider, tired kids after a week’s camping, and what was rumoured to be a tough ride with a LOT of hills.

So I scratched. It took a LOT for me to call Pete (kids and I were travelling separately in the ute) and say “F*** it, we’re going home”.

But you know what? I am SO GLAD we did. The ride had some REALLY tough hills, and a 65% completion rate. This middle aged rider and relatively inexperienced horse combination need all the starts to be aligned to be confident starting an 80km ride. Maybe with time and miles we will feel happier doing rides with a less than stellar build up, but not just yet. Not to mention the impact of my ambitions on my kids, my horse, and my poor long suffering husband… Sometimes you can push the envelope just a little too much.. and then it splits. And sometimes the more you grab at something, the further away it gets. I know I have sacrificed some of my relationship with my horse for the sake of miles and ambitions: I am not prepared to sacrifice my relationship with my family.

So, we went home, and I took a deep breath and had a long hard think. Joe and I stopped flogging miles, and did sone groundwork and some massage instead. In reality, given the way this year’s ride calendar has panned out, missing that 80km (and therefore not being able to do the planned 120km in May) puts my long term goal of the Quilty in 2014 in serious doubt. I will get ONE shot at a 160 this year, and it will now be with a horse who whose longest prior distance will be 100km (if all goes according to plan). But you know what? That’s OK. IF the stars align, and IF we get to the 160 start, and IF we get through, hooray. If not, it’s OK. My family, my horse, and my relationship, will be better for not grabbing at this. For going with the flow. For knowing when I am pushing too hard, and for STOPPING.

So… we regrouped, Joe and I did 80km instead of 120 at Collie last weekend (and completed). 80km in itself is no mean achievement (even if we were 3 hours slower than the front runners!). And we have bought a new truck, in which the whole family can travel together (and still be able to tow 4 horses). No more mechanical issues at least, we hope.

New truck

New truck, with a very excited Ashleigh…

I have done a bit of crafting instead of riding:


And spent some time with kids, and ponies, and Joe got a new bridle:

Joe and ashleigh

Next: another 80km in June somewhere, then 90km in July. After that, who knows??

One week, one kilometre, one ride at a time… My new mantra.


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