Saturday, March 10, 2012

AERC National Convention 2012: These *are* the people you're looking for

Just got home from my third AERC Convention, and it was a ton of fun!

Yall know my slow and torturous progression in the sport of endurance. When I first got Champ, I spent a lot of time (mainly in boring law lectures) investigating all the organized sports that one could conceivably do on a gaited horse, and I settled on endurance pretty fast. I never really got to properly start training til we moved to Reno in '09, and my first convention was February 2010. I think I only knew one person at that point, and I followed her around like a lost puppy, feeling totally out of place. Last year, I knew a couple people and it wasn't so overwhelming. This year, I knew like a bazillion people and had a blast all around. I actually felt like I belonged there! I haven't felt like I had a real tribe of people in a very long time, but endurance riders are my tribe.

You can't really rank how cool your groups of friends are - at least not if you want to continue having groups of friends - so I'll say I can't decide if Nevada riders are more awesome than gaited riders. Nevada riders are, in general, the kind of people I'd call to bail me out of jail if they weren't locked up with me. The Gaited Gang was a posse of woo-hoo'ing at the awards ceremony. And I got a little one-on-one time with Mel, Merri, and ~C. (I think that's all the official bloggers...)

I got "Oh you're Funder!"'d once, which is always incredibly funny and weird.

I scored the best stuff, too - I'll take pics tomorrow. I got a hi-tie (xoxox <3 my husband!), a pair of classy black Kerrits medium weight tights, a pair of screaming neon smiley face summerweight tights from Evelyn, a big new tub of electrolytes, some unbreakable comfortable cheap purple sunglasses, four new Renegades, a pair of caged stirrups at the tack swap, and ordered custom blue and purple suede half chaps.

I took a picture of Merri taking pictures, a picture of me in the neon smiley tights, and a picture of the tiny horse toy we got at our place settings at the awards dinner. But not a damn other picture. Sometimes I just space totally out :)

I talked a little actual horse stuff with people, and I feel better about a) my training schedule in general and b) my decision to ride the 30 next weekend. Did I tell you that? I don't think I did - here's my reasoning. It's not an easy 22.5 mile flat LD; it's a respectably hard true 30. It'll actually be a really good training ride, not an "oh we're done already?" LD.

I know I bitched a lot about the NEDA last weekend, but I was seriously impressed with how well Dixie worked that ride. She was all business. She plowed steadily up and down those hills - the Arabs blew past us on the easier bits, but she outwalked them on the steep uphills and outwalked them on the steep downhills. She was really, seriously, finally pushing from her hindquarters the whole time. I think she can do that again for 30 tough miles, but I know she can't do it for 50 miles yet, and I'd rather do a 30 in really good form than have her dragging herself along on the forehand for the last 15 or 20 miles of a 50.

I've done a 50 on her. I'll do 50s again on her. I don't feel that horrible "quit dinking around" pressure I felt this time last year - I feel like I can make ROM a great training ride and pick an easy 50 to bump her up later this spring.


  1. I hope that was a Star Wars referral in the title....
    Sounds FANTASTIC! It all sounds like so much fun!!

  2. I confess I covet the smiley tights!! Even though a) I'm not an endurance rider and b) I ride in jeans. I would totally ride in smiley tights here at home :)

    AND I am all caught up, adding you to the blogroll now! :)

  3. I love it that you and Dixie have become such a team! And that you are networking well with other riders in your region. Of course we know how I feel about those smiley tights ☺ Rock on Funder, rock on!

  4. Yay Funder! Sounds like you're having a blast. You make me want to try endurance--for the social aspect alone--and I'm something of a hermit.

  5. Sounds like a blast.. I hope to make it there one day myself. I have come to the conclusion that Reno is where I need to live...! Just need to convince the hubby! Your slow start to endurance is much like mine..but look at you go now!! Giddy up..Anxious to see how the upcoming ride turns out..

  6. Go you! I feel you on the endurance tribe, though I couldn't make convention I love having riding buddies now and others like you that I can look forward to seeing at rides!

    And I 100% applaud you on your decision to ride the ROM 30. You know the pressure I've been under to "not waste my time" and bump Desire right up to 50s but I think your reasons, and mine, to start with a 30 this year are very valid--and WISE--of us. If you aren't going to be comfortable with things and are just going to worry (well you'll probably worry anyway, but not as much!) WHAT is the point? See ya next week! :)

  7. The convention sounds like so much fun!! Having friends that do the same discipline you do is definitely something that makes it a lot more fun. I'm starting to feel that way at horse shows so I can definitely relate.


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