TRUE TALE

I didn’t think I was the type of per­son who could suc­ceed at a de­mand­ing sport like en­durance rid­ing. But with the help of two in­sight­ful coaches and their tal­ented horses, I learned that I am.

EQUUS - - Equus - By Je­lena Woehr

Miles to go: I didn’t think I was the type of per­son who could suc­ceed at a de­mand­ing sport like en­durance rid­ing. But with the help of two in­sight­ful coaches and their tal­ented horses, I learned that I am.

Iwas up at 6 a.m. on the Satur­day be­fore La­bor Day, get­ting ready to drive 30 miles into the hills north of Los Angeles to meet some­one I’d seen once at a party. Her name was Lisa, and she’d told me that her en­durance horses needed ex­er­cise while she re­cu­per­ated from foot surgery. For me, her of­fer pre­sented an op­por­tu­nity to try some­thing new---and to take a step to­ward a dream that has been nip­ping at my heels for a long time.

“Oh! Do you ride, too?” I asked, sur­prised, when I pulled up at Lisa’s farm. I’d found not Lisa, but her husband, sad­dling a horse.

“Ev­ery­one asks that ques­tion,” Shel grum­bled.

Women may make up the largest de­mo­graphic of en­durance rid­ers, but Shel has logged more miles in com­pe­ti­tion than most rid­ers ever will. He be­gan rid­ing in midlife and rapidly be­came an ac­com­plished com­peti­tor. My sur­prise didn’t get me off on the right foot with Shel, but for­tu­nately, he gave me a sec­ond chance.

I didn’t em­bar­rass my­self again

THE RIGHT PATH: En­durance rid­ing “brings out the best in me as a rider and brings out the best in the horses I love,” says Je­lena Woehr.

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