Loss & Grief

A Parallel Life Lesson


As some of you know I ride my Arabian horses in endurance. It is a really fun sport. The people are wacky but genuine, the horses are magnificent and most rides are done in stunningly beautiful country that you can not see from a car. Most of my rides are 50 miles in length with 12 hours to finish and my favorite is the 100 Mile One Day Tevis Cup Ride. You have 24 hours to finish. There is no sleeping and your horse goes thru up to 13 vet checks from pre-ride to post ride. I finished it in 2011 & 2012. The other 100 mile ride I attempted in 2013 was the Virginia City 100. The ride is steeped in history, old timers, falling down buildings from the 1800's, wild horses and LOTS of rocks and hills. There is nothing easy about this ride. I got "pulled" at 76 miles because my horse was lame. Prior to riding into the vet check I was going to pull myself, or "rider option" because the ride was so hard and I had truly lost it. My mare & I  had just finished riding some 10 miles alone in the dark, in rocks, with 50 mph wind, rain & sleet and I had no idea where the heck I was because I could hardly see the trail markings. I cried for 4 days afterwards because it kicked my butt to the core every time I thought about it. To this day, I'm shocked at how hard it was for me.

Tevis is also very difficult. There is consistently a less than 50% finish rate at that ride since its beginning 60 years ago. The two times I started, in 2011 was an altered route due to snow, so not considered the "real Tevis". It was difficult nevertheless. In fact when I finished the ride after being on my horse some 22 hours, I said I would never do it again. That feeling wore off about 6 hours later when I received my buckle at the Awards Banquet. The next year, I rode the original route and that was a thrill of a lifetime. Nothing comes close to having a Tevis Buckle on a horse I bred. A 27 yr. dream come true. Some people have multiple buckles (up to 34) and some have multiple starts and no buckles. It's not a ride for snivelers but people from all over the world enter it knowing full well they have a less than 50% chance of bringing home a buckle.

Back to Virginia City. I was lucky to photograph it with my boyfriend the last two years, as I haven't quite come to terms with riding VC yet. I equate this ride with real life (as I do in general with endurance riding), but this ride really brings out the guts in people. With our lives, we all have challenges that seem beyond our control, or goals we set, that seem beyond what we can physically, mentally, financially do. Most likely it's not something like endurance riding, as that is my metaphor for life. It may be wanting to change careers, or get out of a bad relationship or raising amazing children as a single parent. Oftentimes these ideas seem easier in our heads and kept as a dream rather than putting in the work to accomplish. So, we find reasons why we can't do them.

With Virginia City, when I attempt it again, it will be from rock to rock, hill to hill, vet check to vet check. That's the only way I'll get to the finish without blowing my emotions thru the roof (while taking care of my horse).

With life, when we set out on a new adventure, or we want to change something in life, we can't get to the finish line without starting. We can't start without knowing what we need to get to the start so we don't fail before we even get there. All of these things are baby steps, one rock at a time, one hill at a time. Interestingly I knew long before in my mind and my dreams how I was going to finish Tevis. I could see it years before. I had it written down, visualized it over and over in my mind before I went to sleep. I rode on the trails for several years before I started the ride. With Virginia City, I did none of that. My heart wasn't in it like it should have been, in my opinion and my mare wasn't ready to do that ride. Many accomplishments can be done on the spur of the moment, but it is my belief that somewhere there is a plan, a vision, and those baby steps to get to the goal. So, be kind to yourself. Feel what you really want in your life, write it down, take the small steps, keep moving every day towards it and when the rocks and hills are so horrible you want to quit, you are not alone. We all have those rocks and hills but we don't have to be quitters. If you need more time to regroup or need help getting there, do that, as the resources nowadays are endless. If you have a dream to accomplish, taking those first steps every day will take you down the trail and eventually to your finish line. And for that, is your authentic self and who you are meant to be.


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such a gift for writing you have, made me visualize that 10 miles in the dark so clearly, I like the last part about taking life in baby steps, on hill at a time, sometimes that's all any of us can do , life isn't easy either, and not for quitters, I agree, love you xoxo

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