From Endurance to Dressage
More from Tracy's 5-Day Challenge … Or, My (next) 5 Things ...
6. Favorite equestrian book and movie: Hmm … tough one. I really enjoyed Laura Hillenbrand's book, Sea Biscuit: An American Legend, the Eighty-Dollar Champion by Elizabeth Letts, and Buck Brannaman's The Far Away Horses. I am actually a voracious reader and have read nearly all of the horse books for kids. It's really hard to pick a favorite.
For movies though, the answer is easy. I am a Black Stallion fan all the way. I've seen it a million times, but if I happen to catch it on TV and the island sequence is on, I can't walk away. That musical accompaniment during the underwater dance is simply mesmerizing.
7. Most common riding misconception: that anyone can ride. I actually ran into this issue at a recent family dinner. One of the guests at dinner said she had a horse. Oh, really? I asked. Where do you board? And I mean no disrespect here, but when the answer came back that, I board at so and so, and I love it because I can not show up for two weeks and everything is fine, I gave a silent sigh and thought, yep, anyone can own horses and ride.
I don't mean to be such a stuck up, but in our society, people think that owning a horse is a lot like owning a bicycle. It's parked in the garage ready to ride at a moment's notice, and neglecting it for 6 weeks causes no harm.
My horses are such important and precious members of my family that I always feel shocked and dismayed that other people don't view horse ownership with the same seriousness that I do. Any yahoo with enough money to pay board can own a horse. Should they? No, not usually. And I'll step down off my soapbox now.
8. 2 riding strengths and 1 riding weakness: I have a velcro seat, but now that I've written that, I am sure to come off tomorrow. Don't misunderstand. I have been tossed numerous times … and seriously enough to warrant emergency room visits that included amnesia, MRIs, X-rays, slings, crutches, pain pills, TBIs, cut cornea, and even a sprained pelvis! With that said, most of the time, I can ride it out.
I also have a pretty solid leg. It's not perfect, and no one is going to walk around talking about my good leg position, but my leg is pretty steady, and it's not something I really need to work hard to improve upon.
One weakness, and I only get to list one? Pretty tough, but I think the one thing I wish I was better at was actually feeling where each foot is beneath me. I know this is an indispensable skill for dressage. Knowing where each foot is in the sequence helps the rider know when to cue more effectively. This is something I am always trying to get better at feeling.
9. Least favorite thing about horses and or/riding: There is nothing I dislike about horses and riding. I live for this "hobby." I am not me without riding, shoveling poop, grooming, raking the barn aisle, freezing my butt off, sweating through my t-shirt, and swatting at flies. The one thing I could do without is spending the equivalent of a small nation's Gross Domestic Product.
10. What do you feed your horses: ahh … the question I most wanted to answer. And not because I feed anything special, but because I have strong feelings about what my horses eat. The simple answer is that they are fed free choice alfalfa and a soaked beet pulp/rice bran mash daily, while Speedy also gets alfalfa/oat cubes twice a day. We don't have easily accessible (cheap) hay choices here where I live, so while alfalfa is not necessarily the best choice, it's the economical choice.
This sounds rather simple because it is simple. I am a firm believer in the idea of free choice hay as it most closely mimics a horse's natural disposition to graze for nearly 24 hours a day. Neither of my boys "hoovers" down their food; they nibble all day long as nature intended. My barn owner is enormously generous in allowing me to indulge this one idiosyncrasy (okay, there are probably more).
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
*** SCEC 10/15-16/22
2022 Completed …
(*) Tehachapi 5/22/22
(*) Tehachapi 7/24/22
(***) Tehachapi 8/28/22
2023 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
Qualifying Training Level
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%:
Score 1: 62.115%