Last year, Ariat hosted a contest where everyone could log onto their site and answer the question Why I Ride...
Like so many other horse enthusiasts I went onto Ariat's site and typed my answer. I believe it was something along the lines of, "I ride because I am."
I can't really remember wanting to learn to ride, there is a picture of me being held on my pony before I could walk well. Horses have always fascinated me and been a huge part of my life.
Lately, as I shovel gates clear so that horses can go out, smash frozen water buckets and deal with cold weather, I have pondered the question a little more. Any hobby that requires as much energy (physical, mental and financial) as ours, really ought to have a good reason behind it.
I ride for those days when everything goes right, the "perfect ride." The perfect ride is elusive, but it does exist. I ride for the feeling of freedom I get when I gallop down a good stretch of trail. I ride for the "aha" moments I have with my horses, when we are both finally speaking the same language.
I also ride for the sound of my horses greeting me with a nicker in the morning. And I ride for the sound of horses contentedly munching hay at the end of the day.
And in the end, I think Steve Prefontaine sums it up best. Pre felt about running the way I feel about riding.
"You have to wonder at times what you're doing out there. Over the years, I've given myself a thousand reasons to keep running, but it always comes back to where it started. It comes down to self-satisfaction and a sense of achievement." -Pre