Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Never Say Never

by Linda Benson

Horse people are an opinionated bunch, aren't we? Many of us have a preferred breed, preferred sport, certain type of go-to equipment, and we all have training methods that we are sure always (well, mostly) work. I include myself in this bunch. Especially when I was younger, I had pretty strong ideas, not only about horses, but about myself, and my likes and dislikes.

But as I'm becoming a little "long in the tooth," (yes, that's horse-speak for "been around the barn a time or two") I'm realizing how Change is the only Constant in life. And if we're lucky, we will live long enough to see many changes in our lives.

When I was much younger, I believe I spouted off something to the effect that I would "never" try endurance riding. I fancied myself of the cowgirl genre (although I didn't grow up on a ranch, and never owned a cow until I was about 40.) But at that time of my life, I thought people trotting up and down the trails, bouncing up and down on those little spindly-legged Arabs looked ridiculous. Ha! Was the joke ever on me!

The year was 1985. (Notice the permed hair?) To find out why I'm not actually riding Daniel up this famous rock, go here.

I acquired a dark palomino, half-quarter horse, half-mustang gelding that I named Daniel. He was eight years old, had only been sat on a couple of times, but had very hard feet and appeared tough as nails. I started riding him in my favorite Western saddle (which I expounded about right here) and found that one of the greatest joys in my life was watching Daniel get fit underneath me, as we long-trotted up and down mountains, through streams, and across miles and miles of wilderness.

Eventually, I rode Daniel in some 50 miles races, as well as the Tevis Cup, a 100 miles endurance ride. And what a blast we had! (And as the little spindly-legged Arabs passed us handily mile after mile, I learned to never berate another breed of horse, as well as never underestimate what type of riding I might actually enjoy!) For more about Daniel and riding the Tevis Cup, go here.

Do you have something you've said you would Never do? A breed of horse, a sport, or a piece of tack to which you've said "Never!"

Ha! Just remember these important words, kids. "Never Say Never!"


  1. I'd love to get into competitive endurance - I rode an open endurance mare once who had completed over 1,000 kilometres in competition and she was amazing! I must admit though, I am guilty of saying "never" to Standardbreds...just not a fan! Give me an Arab any day :)

  2. Kate - I have never ridden a Standardbred, although I've owned some that I've suspected might be part. But they appeal to me in the way that quarter horses often do: seemingly solid and steady. (And these are traits one admires more and more as one gets older. Ha!)