I’ve mentioned to a few local folks that ‘Fetti may well be done with endurance. It’s certainly not definitive, but the horse I have right now is not one I’d feel comfortable taking down a brisk trail for miles on end. Oddly enough, I am 100% okay with that.
There is, instead, nothing but gratitude that this pony has let me grow and learn and change as she’s gotten older.
At fourteen and fifteen, I rode her 6-7 days a week, some in the arena, some in the trail. We jumped and learned to do trails.
At sixteen – I think! – we learned that we could go out alone. It was still scary, but it could be done sometimes. I still rode 5-6 days a week. We flailed our way through our first LD with Funder and Dixie.
At seventeen I increased her workload and we did two more LDs.
At eighteen I increased her workload again and we did two more LDs and a NATRC ride.
At nineteen we finished another NATRC ride, her first multiday, her first 50 with Cyd and Bugsy, and another LD with Nilla and Olivia.
At twenty we.. aborted the entire first half of the season when everything got cancelled, and then oh-so-politely finished her second 50 complete with breathing issues that were present for a good chunk of the year.
Twenty-one? Our trail access is unexpectedly limited still. We’re riding 10 miles a week instead of 25. Our evening rides consist of walks around the barn, then standing still. Sometimes we trot, often we don’t.
My goals were first to get her to a more well-rounded place (hah, like I knew enough to do that!) so she’d be a more marketable horse. Then we became a permanent team, and refocused our goals on trails, specifically endurance. New goal: trail fitness for 25s. Goal after-that: trail confidence, and building trail fitness for more 25s and maybe 50s. Current goal? Rideability, being the Experienced Trail Horse and all that entails, and teaching the baby pony all the things.
So, I suppose, to me it is about the journey with the individual horse. I still identity as an endurance rider and a trail rider. I still love trails. I am casually putting my mind to what the theoretical Next Horse will be: good brain. More woah than go (but a good bit of go, too). Willing to dabble at all the things and put up with my crazy ideas. Short. Young-ish. If it can be done, the ideal would be training up the second horse while I still have Fetti.
Getting rid of Fetti is not an option. If and when I can financially manage a second horse, I will do so. The wheels are turning (slowly, slowly). But she and I are a partnership and that trumps my individual riding goals.
I ride to find zen and peace and happiness. I do want goals. I still have goals for us, even if they’re not competition-goals. I want her to be fitter than she is now. We both enjoy galloping up a few good hills. I value a horse that I can relax on at the end of the day, hacking around the barn bareback and in a halter at a mellow walk, ponying or catching a two year old on the trail. Trot a bunch of miles with friends at a maybe-halfway-respectable pace. Wander on the beach. Cross rivers. Chase ducks.
Why Fetti? Because she makes me happy. I grew up and got a pony. Damn right, I can have my pony decked out in pink and glitter and hearts if I want. This is my princess pony and I love her dearly.