First to Jan Stevens, I to, am way more tired at the end of a day working cows than doing a 50. I think it is the slow, slow work of working cows or driving cows anyway. Each summer I help push 900 pairs 18 miles over a big mountain (start at 5500 fit and climb to 8000-9000 feet). Much of this is single file and believe me when we are done I am exhausted. Now a LD ride is actually fun and a walk in the park any more.
I have been riding almost daily for 46 years. As a teenager, riding in the hills and showing. As an adult training horses, competing in barrels in rodeos. Then 3 years ago my daughter was training a little Arab for someone (who is now a good friend) and was going to put him in a LD ride. I decided to get a AQHA gelding ready and go just for the fun of it. Only did 25 miles, got lost, rode in a barrel saddle in Wranglers (you weren't going to catch me in tights) but finished. Couldn't even hardly get in the horse trailer to put things away. At the awards that evening a free entry to the Mt Charleston Challenge was given to me and I went and was I hooked. I have always been very competitive and I was ready for a change. I had owned an Arab or two over the years and always thought that I would go back to them once I quit rodeo. All my quarter horses are sold, and I own 4 Arab geldings, have ridden in competition about 1200 miles, practice conditioning probably 5000 miles, and driven 68,000 miles.
For me it is the physical challenge of preparing my horses and I, the competition, meeting new people, seeing neat places and being so close to my horses. I too, love to watch them come running from the bottom of the pasture when I call them or watch them play. I do love my Arabs. If it doesn't kill me off then it definitely keeps me young and active.