From Endurance to Dressage
"In a world where you can be anything, choose to be KIND."
- Jennifer Dukes Lee
I think the thing that surprised me most about the comments from yesterday's post was how quick some of you were to think the absolute worst of me. In contrast, I was overwhelmed with gratitude at those of you who chose to think the best of me. Thank you.
I have stipulated many, many times that while I write, I am not a professional. I don't get paid to put my thoughts down on paper. I do it because it is therapeutic for me. It helps me set goals, prioritize, celebrate, scream, shout, sing, and sometimes, to cry.
Some of you understood my feelings; I have a horse that will probably die long before I am ready for him to pass, and I won't be able to do a thing about it.
Except. The one thing I can do for him is choose his ending before he suffers. I can choose to let him go before he stands in excruciating pain as his coffin bone rotates into his sole. Laminitis. It's my worst nightmare. Speedy's version of Cushing's Disease seems determined to make this about his feet. How many laminitic episodes do I let him have? What's the magic number? One, three, eight? My heart answers for me; none. One is too many.
When Dr. Tolley and I evaluated Speedy more than a week ago, I asked him to help me make the right decision when the time comes. He could barely look me in the eye. He quipped, "oh, I'll be long gone before that happens." I knew what he was trying to say. He meant that Speedy has a long life in front of him and that he'll be retired before that fateful day arrives. That's what he tried to say, but I knew better.
I pleaded with him to listen, really listen. The last thing that I want is for Speedy to suffer. Dr. Tolley looked at me and nodded. In a voice that resonated with regret, he admitted that he has let horses live too long. Suffer too long. Even for him, a doctor of veterinarian medicine for more than 30 years, letting them go is still hard to do.
I told Dr. Tolley that I will do what seems right for Speedy. I will care for him as long as there is a good chance that he can lead a comfortable and happy life. I will not go to the ends of the Earth to keep him with me though. That's selfish.
If that makes me an asshole, then it does. I won't apologize for it.
About the Writer and Rider
I am a lifelong rider.
I began endurance riding in 1996 where I ultimately completed five, one-day 100 mile races, the 200-mile Death Valley Encounter, and numerous other 50, 65, and 75 mile races. I began showing dressage in 2010.
Welcome to my dressage journey.
About Speedy G
Speedy went from endurance horse to dressage horse. After helping me earn a USDF Bronze medal in the summer of 2020, he is now semi-retired. Speedy is a 2004, 15'1 hand, purebred Arabian gelding. His Arabian Horse Registry name is G Ima Starr FA.
Izzy was started as a four-year old and then spent the next 18 months in pasture growing up. I bought him as a six-year old, and together, we are showing at the lower levels. He is a 2008, 16'3 hand warmblood gelding. His Rheinland Pfalz-saar International (RPSI) name is Imperioso.
National Rider Awards
State Rider Awards
State Horse Awards
CDS Sapphire Rider Award
Third Level: 63.514%
Third Level: 62.105%
2023 Show Season
(r) Ride-a-Test Clinic
2023 Show Schedule
2023 Completed …
2023 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
Qualifying Training Level
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%: