Sunday, September 21, 2014

From Kelly's Facebook Post from a Short While Ago

Kelly is thinking out loud on Facebook this morning and they are some good thoughts. Read below what she has just posted.


 This past Friday and Saturday 3 of our older teens/young adults began their training for endurance riding. Their goal is to ultimately do 200 miles in 48 hours or less and they will do it by this Spring. I am letting them know that I have an idea for doing 500 miles during Spring Break - that would be 500 miles in 6 days. The kind of riding they did today would be the beginning of training for such an event. The training of the riders, the training of the ground crew, and the training of the horses. And their are no better endurance horses than the Spanish Mustang, and in my experience specifically the Corolla and Choctaw strains. And no better riders at Mill Swamp than Lydia, KC and Jenn and Emily --- under the age of 30.

There is much we (and by we I mean riders and ground crew) need to learn and much of that learning will come from practice, and trial and error. This past Friday and Saturday we had an excellent beginning with Jennifer Michelle Hill, Kaleb, and Lydia, We even had additional riding support from Emily and her brother, and Ride Leader Terry. The ride hit some glitches but good leadership, sensible thinking, and a bit of grit and grace re-imagined the ride and that is what it takes to achieve goals of this sort. This winter we will practice doing 20-30 mile rides at night. Possibly being able to do a 50 mile ride from sundown to sunrise - in order to accommodate hunting season. Cold but doable. Beginning next year we will add another group of riders - these a bit younger to our endurance ride training - and next fall I hope to have some of them competing in endurance rides in Va.

I believe the more we can showcase what the Corollas are capable of, the better the chance we will have in drawing attention to them in the bigger horse world. This will a piece of the puzzle in helping to preserve and protect them. Which is part one of the mission of Gwaltney Frontier Farm non profit.

These kinds of rides also will provide a kind of rite of passage for some of these kids and older teens. Our culture sorely lacks healthy rites of passage - study upon study proves that healthy rites of passage, done by adults for the kids, and not the kids doing it for each other, actually makes the transition to adulthood healthier and ultimately more grounded, secure, and successful than not having them. Without them kids create their own that are often, though not always, more than a little self destructive. And there is part two of the mission of Gwaltney Frontier Farm -- improving the lives of youth.

So to all of my ground crew & support staff who were so invaluable this weekend… get ready for a bit more amping up. And to the younger kids who helped out so tremendously, you are preparing yourselves to step into the roll of endurance rider as you learn the process from the 'ground up'.

I am really looking forward to this winter at the 'Swamp' in a whole new way.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hmm...Some small circuit supervised endurance rides just for the advancing younger riders might be good too.

The Swamp Thug Long Riders Guild sure came a long way this past weekend. I am right proud of them,
and they should be proud of themselves.

For a interesting look at the logistics involved in extreme endurance riding, there are several blogs out there about the Mongol Derby. Very few publicised endurance races are as involved.. as that one.

I hope Frank Hopkins is up there somewhere being proud, as these young people are certainly rolling along with the same concepts he rode by. Solid horses, solid, knowledgeable, and fearless horsemanship, with a deep respect for the welfare of the animal. Good stuff happening.

Trail maintenance this weekend that will lead to the capacity for our riders and horses to become much more comfortable with riding fast through more confined trails...this is going to be fun. -Lloyd