Join Date: May 2009
Location: Mid Northern TN
I hope you've found some riding buddies in the past couple of weeks!
I don't know if endurance is really a 'competitive sport.' It certainly can be, at all levels from LD right up to 100's, but if it is, that is a personal choice (that a lot people make). It can also be a 'go out and enjoy yourself and your horse and some good trail with other slightly nutty horse people' activity, if that is what you want too. There's room for everyone. :) What I do agree whole-heartedly is that it is or can be a somewhat solo activity- there is zero guarantee you will be riding with a trail buddy during a ride, and as the Army says, train as you fight. Keep ID and cell phone on your person, not the horse.
I rode a 30 last weekend, my first completion, and I think, over the entire trail, I was with company for MAYBE 2 miles. The other 28 were just me and my horse. If that idea is something you're not ready for, both horse and rider, I would keep working closer to home for a while. Are there any 'normal' trail riders around you? In terms of training a greenie, even a slower-paced ride can be a great experience and a good chance to get the horse exposed to new and scary things. Maybe start out with normal trail rides out with others, but do lots of close-to-home/barn loops for conditioning in the meanwhile?