Thursday, January 01, 1998

Endurance - The Beginning - Vic Anderson

The morning comes like a flash.
The anticipation of the day`s ride mounts.
You can feel the spirit of the horses rising.
Everyone begins to take their places.
Riders, horses, and pit crew alike.
All work as a team.
With one common goal.
To finish the day`s ride like champions.
No matter first or last.
As I see each person take their place.
It awakens senses deep in my soul.
A sense of belonging, togetherness, and friendship.
Yes, I tell myself, this is where I belong.
I look at every rider with envy.
Hoping that I, someday, could be where they are.
But, for now, I will be a part of this team
in the only way I know how.
Through supporting the riders and their horses.
No matter if they are a team member or not.
I watch the horses and riders come to the starting line.
Each and every horse is breathing like there is no tomorrow.
Milling around, warming up, and waiting for the word Go.
It comes like lightning.
A few horses shoot out into the prairie,
the others stay back waiting for when they feel
it is time to make their move.
All with different thoughts on how they will race today.
As I watch the riders and their faithful, eager steeds
leave the camp,
I cannot help but to feel a sense of pride.
A smile sneaks across my face,
like the sun rising at the dawn of a new day.
Knowing that my time to contribute has come.
It has come time to prepare
for each horse and rider coming our way.
Everyone waits with anticipation
for that first rider to appear upon the horizon.
The blankets, feed, and electrolytes all
ready for immediate use.
The waiting time has begun...
I watch the hills for a sign.
With the sun shining, a distant shadow appears.
It is the first rider.
You know the busiest part of your day has started.
Because with one, there will be dozens more
to follow.
Someone yells, " Here they come!"
We look to the hills, one shadow turns into two.
The waiting time is over.
The first horse and rider are in.
Everyone works together to help her through.
I look at her face, the intensity is unreal.
Strong, Confident, and a Mind that is working Overtime.
With a smile upon my face, I take her horse.
In my best effort I urge her to take care of herself,
and begin to walk the horse through the steps.
My eyes wander around, staring at each individual.
I think to myself, "Wow, I`m part of a team."
The horses and riders start to flow through.
With the ease and grace of a slow moving river.
My attention returns to the hills every so often,
looking for that one familiar rider and horse.
I glance one last time before moving on to help others.
My heart starts to dance.
The rider and horse I`ve been waiting for, appear at last.
My D. and FeatherB.
God, I thank her for inspiring me to become involved.
I move on, swiftly, to be ready when she rides in.
Later, all the riders who belong to the team
are now in, and accounted for, except one.
That one rider who is on her last ten mile leg of the 75 mile race.
I watched her leave to complete that last ten miles.
The horse and rider, so tired, but they pushed on.
My heart and encouragement went out to her.
It begins to get dark.
It is time for the welcoming committee to be formed.
We look through the oncoming darkness for a sign
of the grey horse.
The group, all squinting, finally glimpses what we`ve been
looking for.
We start to clap and cheer.
Horse and rider break into a trot.
Emotion overwhelms me...
Our day is complete.
This last paragraph, I`m dedicating to Wendye Gardiner
and her brave mount, Smokey.
Rattlesnake Ridge `97 was the first 75 miler for
Wendye and Smokey.
The courage and heart it took for Wendye to leave
on that last leg is something I admire
very much in all the endurance riders
I`ve encountered.
The overwhelming emotion I felt upon
their completion was something
I had not ever experienced and will never forget.
To one and all the endurance riders I encounter,
Good Luck!
Ride well and most importantly, Complete!
And when you come into a vet check, remember that
we lowly Pit Crew people
are here for You!
Please smile, don`t abuse us too much.
We are willing volunteers who love what we`re doing,
and wish we could be in your shoes at times!

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