I suspect that I’m not alone, particularly amongst endurance riders in parts of the world where the return of winter means a contemplative time.

The days are short, the holidays press obligations other than riding, and for us, the snow flies. It means that the weeks between Thanksgiving and the New Year are generally a well-earned vacation for our boys, and for us to some degree as well.

We pull shoes, my husband and I work together to trim feet. It’s a well-worn dance. We put a horse on each set of cross-ties. In my undoubtedly skewed view, I am the visionary, he is the artist. I find myself lifting each hoof, sighting down the frog, setting it down, stepping back, and then I get going with a rasp. Ineptly. My tool aptitude is giggle-worthy. I remind myself that if hoof wall needs to come off, it doesn’t matter how gracelessly it got to the floor, scattered around a hoof. But the reality is that the process is more streamlined when my husband does the majority of the work, and I relegate myself to the contemplative and persnickety role of making sure each hoof is balanced as we finish the job.

And this is introspection and planning time. We talk about the season in our rearview mirror, the disappointments, the triumphs, the mistakes made and the successes and surprises that often balance those out.

The plan begins for the new season.

We set off on some trudges through the woods, the silence of snowy footfalls accompanied by the whispers of dreams for the new season. Building, building, building …

I suspect it is much the same for folks just getting started, or contemplating the climb up the steep slope to getting started in our sport.

The 2018 AERC ride season has just started. The New Year is just a couple of weeks away.

A fresh new beginning. What will it bring?

Making a plan, setting up the building blocks, establishing goals.

We are excited to support AERC and the Green Bean Endurance Program by offering a 20% discount on Endurance Essentials for GBE members.

For more information about Endurance Essentials, click here: http://enduranceintrospection.com/wp/coming-soon-endurance-essentials-web-based-course/

To learn more about the Green Bean Endurance Program, click here: http://www.greenbeanendurance.org/p/about.html

Or to sign up for AERC and the Green Bean Endurance Program (and thus be eligible for the 20% Endurance Essentials discount), click here: https://aerc.org/static/2018GB.aspx You can always call the office and talk to the friendly staff to get registered as well. (The phone number is in the link.)

Whatever your journey is, take a little time, look back and look forward.

I have a feeling that 2018 is going to be a very good year!

Happy trails.