This story is partly about the amazing, incredible, mind-blowing generosity of total strangers, and the incredible things that can happen when you least expect them.
And, partly about being drunk.
A week ago, I got an email in from blog reader Meghan, who had read my laments about not having a proper endurance saddle and not being able to afford one. I'm about ready to make the leap to 50s, but I had no intention of doing so in the big clunky barrel saddle if I didn't have to... but my budget is shoestring at best. There is just no possible way at the moment that I can afford to buy a saddle, ANY saddle, even the crappiest ones out there.
So she told me she'd send me her Stonewall. Yes, her Stonewall... the very kind of saddle I've been drooling over for years, even back when I had Gogo and was oogling at them over at The Barb Wire. That was at LEAST six years ago, WAY before I ever considered endurance at all. She told me she'd send it to me as a pay-it-forward.... try it out, keep it if it works, if it doesn't work, then pay-it-forward to someone else.
To say I am completely and utterly overwhelmed by this kind of selfless generosity is an understatement. I don't even have the words to describe what I am feeling right now. It's overwhelming. Completely overwhelming. And totally amazing.
Thank you Meghan. Thank you from the very bottom of my heart. Truly, thank you.
It might not work out (I DESPERATELY hope it does), so I can't get my hopes up *too* high until I set it on my horse and get some rides in it.... but that didn't stop me from celebrating its imminent arrival.
With some wine.
Ok, maybe a lot of wine.
Hey, that's what I do.
A group of my local endurance friends was bantering on about leaving this weekend for Post Oak, which is a local ride that I had originally been planning on attending as our last 25 before our first 50. I recently had an extremely disastrous conditioning ride in my dressage saddle, in which a stirrup leather rubbed a hole right through one of my calves (why was I not wearing my tall boots? What was I thinking?? Wine??), and since the Stonewall was coming anyway, I opted to give myself some time to stop bleeding on my tack and let the huge wound heal. I told them good luck, and that I wasn't going to be there, but that I would see them at Bluebonnet (which is the next one).
"What?? Why!! Noooooooo!!" was the general consensus. "Come ride with us!! You have to!!"
"No," I told them, "the Stonewall is coming and I want to get some rides in that first!"
"Oh come on," they said. "Come with us! Ride in the Stonewall! You'll be fine! Just bring your other saddle if it doesn't work out!"
The wine said this was a Great Idea. Totally, I'll just bring my other saddle, just in case!
"Come do the 50 with us!" they said. "We're doing a slow one on unseasoned horses! We'll take care of you! Ride one saddle on the first loop, and the other on the second! You'll be fine!"
The wine said, that is such a Great Idea! They'll take care of you! You'll be fine!
I burbled out yes, that I was totally game for that, and that I would go. In a saddle I had never ridden in. I needed to find some britches and boots for that, so probably wearing clothes I hadn't ever worn before long distance. With a huge bleeding saddle sore on my leg.
What could possibly go wrong? I'll be fiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiinnnneeee!
My friend The Wine high-fived me and told me to go fetch another glass to celebrate. Liquid courage, my friend, you need that!
Obviously, that was not actually a good idea at all. Once I sobered up, I passed my story around, kind of staring at the idea blearily and wondering what the hell I had gotten myself into. Thankfully, Aurora was the one to finally go, "are you stupid??" You're going to go to your first 50. In a saddle you've never sat in. Wearing clothes you've never worn before. And you're trailering in the morning of. The hell are you thinking!?
Oh. Hmm. Without my friend The Wine telling me what a wise and grand decision maker I am, it occurred to me that maybe this wasn't such a fantastic idea after all.
Maybe it's time to take a break from my relationship with The Wine. It's not you Wine, it's me. Ok, no, it's you.
(No redheaded monsters were harmed in the making and unmaking of this bad decision. Don't worry, I would have come to my senses at some point and not actually done it!)
The Stonewall goes for a test ride tomorrow.... stay tuned for that!!!!!!!!