It's a struggle for me too, with kids activities, and husband only home weekends. My kids and I have mainly only gotten to do LD rides, I have only done 5 50's.....but I am hooked as far as it being an activity I want to do.
First, I love to ride this way....as a teenager and in my 20's, trotting and cantering up in the hills. I love to be on a horse that wants to move out. Until I discovered Endurance, I just didn't now there were people out there that rode a whole lot faster than me!
I am totally drawn by all the information out there and advances in knowledge about feeding and tack and electrolyting. It's a sport that requires more care and knowledge of whats best for the horse, than appearances! Due to constant reasearch, articles and books by researchers and competitors, and through actual riding; I am taking better care of my horses.
It's an opporutnity to go new places, ride into areas and parts of the state I would not typically go to.I love seeing different parts of California.
It's been a positive experience for my kids, fostering hard work and responsibility, encouraging good sportmanship and putitng their partner (the horse) first (over their feelings and tiredness). My daughter has had to make several tough decisions regarding not racing another junior and pulling her horse when it wasn't exactly 100% She made the right decision both times! I think this sport has been good for my self confidence.
As for me, I have met a group of people I find, for the most part, smart, caring and funny...as opposed to some of the horse yahoo's in my county. I have met great friends I hope to carry through the rest of my life.
The riding and activity level has encouraged me, and kept me fit. I find i ride better and more balanced, and have more confidence, when my own body is fit.
It's personally, a feeling of accomplishment to get one of my horses through a 50 in good shape; shows I have prepared and conditioned well, and ridden my horse sensibly.
And last, it provides a GOAL...I guess I am still goal oriented. It gets me out on the horses on those days I would prefer to be a slug...and once I am out on my horse on that cold, dreary day, I am sure glad I did it!The goal of a spring endurance ride keeps me out there in the winter, working some of the young horses.