Thursday, February 10, 2011

Life after competition

My favorite view in the world
  The transition from active driving to retirement driving can be a difficult one to make.  After actively competing in combined driving from 1994 through 2006 on a full time basis, it became time to adjust to the effects of RA (Rheumatoid Arthritis) on my health and activities. 

If one lives long enough, works and plays hard enough, most will experience OA (Osteoarthritis).   I have that variety also.  Horse folk know how to power through the pain and get on with their horse activities.  RA is different as it is an autoimmune disease that not only targets joints but internal organs as well.  Treatment can involve chemo therapy drugs to curtail erosion and deformity that can be crippling in many cases.    I am one of the lucky ones that respond well to treatment and can function pretty well.  I do require a few life altering changes that are necessary for a good life.  Plenty of rest, no stress and quality food is important.   The unfortunate part is I can no longer ignore my body and power through body pain.  The saying “no pain, no gain” does not apply to me anymore.

After a few years of non-competition, I have finally come to contentment that combined driving is a past achievement for me.   There are indeed other ways to drive one’s horse and still achieve some necessary goals if one is so oriented.  I have just completed an open end goal that has taken me nearly 2 years to achieve.  The American Driving Society’s Hours to Drive program is a great way to achieve personal goals as well as having a log to reflect on a horse’s conditioning progress.    Having a goal, or purpose is so important to me and the Hours to Drive program is a great way to have fun, see progress, and be rewarded for achieving a milestone.

cruising with LH Winfield Scott
Thank you ADS (American Driving Society)  for instituting such a program and giving recognition to the recreational drivers out there.  I think we must be in large numbers and it is nice to know that we are an important part of the driving community.    I’ll be mailing in my log sheet this week and can’t wait to receive my achievement pin for 100 hours on the box seat.  I have lots of pins from competitions over the years that I enjoy looking at and remembering the great fun and adventure of the event.  I think I will enjoy the Hours to Drive pin with more enjoyment because of the times I didn’t feel like getting out there with my horse.  I’d remember the program and goal and it would give me the needed inspiration to get outside on the good days, climb on the box seat, and experience all the joy that driving a good horse brings…such good medicine.    Onto my next milestone…250 hours!


  1. Go Nancy! This is Chris from the RA group. Thank you so much for sharing your site and your insight. Gentle hugs- Chris in SC

  2. Thanks for visiting Chris...A big "gentle hugs" to you too, my fellow warrior...Nancy