Yesterday was the first endurance ride of the season—for Sterling. I went with him. Originally I had hoped I might be able to actually ride, but while my recovery has been wonderful, earlier this week I had to admit it was too soon. I cried when I told Sterling I didn’t think I was up to it, and I thought when I went with him it would be emotional, but it turns out I was wrong. Mostly, I just felt relief. .
I felt the excitement and energy in the air, and watched the horses nervously wait, and saw riders jump up into and down out of the saddles, and I knew I didn’t have the strength I need yet to do an endurance ride. And I was OK with that. It was good for me to be there, see friends (including the doctor and the couple who helped out right after my accident), and support Sterling, but I truly felt relief that I wasn’t on Kadie heading off for a 30-mile ride.
Instead, I got to watch Sterling head off, then I drove to the vet check and watched him and Grey (his horse, who was doing his first-ever endurance ride) come in. We chatted about the adventures of the morning, ate some lunch together, then I wished them well in the afternoon portion of the ride. While Sterling and Grey rode, I went back to camp and worked and read, and was there to greet them when they came in.
It was a fabulous first ride for both of them. Although Sterling is a little sore and Grey is a little tired, Sterling felt great about the ride and thinks Grey is going to be a great endurance horse—he performed well and didn’t shy or startle much at all. Sterling said when they rode past the bison and antelope (the ride was on Antelope Island), Grey just walked calmly up to the huge animals, and then rode on by, while a lot of the other horses went a little crazy.
I was kind of crazy about the bison as well—I’ve never seen them up that close and was surprised at how big they were. Apparently I wasn’t surprised enough to take a picture though. . . completely forgot about that. I was focused on Sterling and Grey, so didn’t think about much else. But it was fun to see the bison and to enjoy my first trip ever to Antelope Island. It was a perfect day for a ride. . . crisp and clear and beautiful, and it set a great precedent for the rest of the season!