I've been thinking about it, and he's half right. I think most horse people are, or were, kind of adrenaline junkies - or at least I am. But if I just wanted the holy-shit-I-almost-died thrill, I'd have a mountain bike or a motorcycle. The thing that makes horses so addictively seductively fun is the combination of crazy almost out of control power plus willing cooperation from the horse.
The best feeling in endurance is when you crawl back on to your horse for the last loop and you've still got a lot of horse left. I think everybody who rides knows what I mean when I say it's a huge rush to have a lot of horse - it's canter pirouttes, it's slingshotting around the third barrel and going full speed for the gate, it's letting the horse spin on its hocks to gallop after that cow, it's going hell-for-leather at a coop chasing a pack of dogs. It's fucking outstanding and terrifying all at once.
When it goes wrong - usually when the bucking or the bolting starts - it's just no fun at all. But what's gone wrong isn't the speed or even the moves. It's the feeling that you're just a passenger on a roller coaster that's gone off the rails.
Yall, I hate bullshit stereotypes like "women like pretty flowers and men like tools!" I try very hard to not talk that way, think that way, or pass on that kind of thinking. (And you know how much I like tools. Did I tell you I have a router?!) But the fact of the matter is that most equestrians in America (in developed countries?) are women. Why do we overwhelmingly love horses? I think it's because we get the thrill AND the partnership. We're not dominating the course - we're dominating the course with our partners. When it's going right, we've got a half ton of amazing athlete cooperating with us, willingly taking us along on an amazing ride we can't duplicate any other way.
I don't think it's good that most equestrians are women (or bad, for that matter.) But I do think that's why we're equestrians instead of mountain bikers. Solo sports are person vs. thing. Horse sports are team vs. thing.
So I realize that every normal person in the world wonders why I want to ride a horse for ten hours. Why did I spend years working up to it, and months dreaming about doing it again, and more money that I ever want to consider gearing up for it? It's for the little moments of adrenaline rush, over and over all day. It's when you crawl back on your horse and point her at the trail and all of a sudden you both come alive and you're flying, again.
Edit: hurf durf, days of the week are complicated.