|hiking with Artemis, July 2014|
- Enough people know me/come here from Facebook that my identity isn't exactly low-profile. If you're gonna identity theft me, just know the highest $ thing I have associated with my name is my student loan...so if you feel like giving me an excuse to get rid of that, have at it.
- I also respond to "Ash", "the girl with the white pony", or "the Renegade boot girl."
Age: Late 20s. I have a birthday next month and will still be in my late 20s.
Where do you live: Valley of the Sun...just outside of Phoenix, AZ.
Family Status: Me. Pony. Puppy.
1. How long have you been riding? Endurance?
- Since I was seven years old, so 21 years this summer. A little bit of everything -- started with English huntseat, moved to a couple of years of Western, then all around with POA showing. Distance riding since 2001 (NATRC), and endurance since 2005.
2. What does a normal training week look like for you?
- Currently? Somewhat pitiful, due to my in-limbo status of having a competition-retired horse and working for the means to be able to acquire another one. I still try to ride Mimi at least once a week, in the arena if nothing else, and try to catch ride with friends with extra horses when I can.
- When I was actively competing Mimi, I would usually ride 2-3 times/week. Had to work around my school schedule, Dad's work schedule, and the fact we had to drive to the barn and trailer out, so we usually rode both days on the weekend, and schedules permitting, would try to get out once during the week. We would usually shoot for 20-25 miles over the weekend, and a shorter, 6-8 miles during the week.
3. Any advice for endurance riding spouses?
- I'll let you know if I find one.
The most important thing is someone that understands and supports the fact that my life passion is my horses. I don't much care how that manifests itself, whether it's in the form of someone who is happy to stay at home and hold down the fort while I'm gone, or someone who enjoys camping and being outdoors and coming to rides with me (although the latter would be pretty awesome). I don't particularly want/need to find someone who rides, but does at least have the ability to know which end the food goes in and which end it comes out, and comfortable being around horses.
4. Where will this sport be in 10 years?
- The cynical side of me says "I hope there is a sport in 10 years." That's the side that, because my job involves being on the computer all day, sees entirely too much of the drama on discussion forums, and people grumbling, and in-fighting, and bad attitudes. I see loss of trails due to development or bureaucracy, loss of rides with no one stepping up to take over and fill in the missing ride weekend gaps. I've personally experienced the effects of an economic downturn and how difficult that can make horse keeping, let alone competing.
But that's my cynical side.
- What I hope to see?
- It's encouraging to see how many more people are in approximately my age bracket (+/- 10 years, so roughly the 20-40 age range) than when I first started. Hopefully that leads to an increase in membership, or at least not a decrease. I think fresh blood being brought in helps breathe new life and ideas into any organization.
- More technological adaptation. As technology gets more and more accessible, I think we'll probably start seeing more of it being used -- GPS tracks, more accurate maps, more streamlined timing systems.
- More veterinary advancements and rider education/awareness. As Mel put it, shifting from a culture of automatic blame/shame -- "Oh, your horse is being treated, you're a bad rider and raced your horse" -- to an understanding of the value of early intervention therapy to keep a minor problem from becoming a major one, and that all horses can and will have a bad day at some point.
5. What was your best race and why (AERC endurance – or if you are primary in another discipline, than your best ride in that sport).
- A toss-up between Man Against Horse 50 in 2009, and Valley of the Sun Turkey Trot 50 in 2009. MAH was a really hard ride, and a monkey off my back after being pulled the year before. It was a hard enough ride that I have friends who won't/don't like to do it, so to have my little pony complete it was one of my proudest moments ever. VOTSTT was a hard ride, mentally...felt like the longest 50 ever, and the pony just kept trucking along. Riding the last 5 miles in the dark was just magical and solidified my love of night riding and the feeling I'm going to like 100s.
Bonus question: What’s your favorite beer?
- Currently, the fridge is stocked with Leinenkugel's Summer Shandy, which tells you what I tend to prefer -- lighter, more fruit-flavored types. Not a fan of anything really bitter. Can handle strong (I do love Guiness ) as long as it's smooth. But I prefer hard ciders, wine, or vodka + mixer.
So, there ya go! Feel free to grab the questions, post them on your own blog, and share the information love!