From Endurance to Dressage
I turned 50 on Sunday. Rather than feeling depressed or sad, I found the idea of turning 50 pretty hilarious. It's like somebody just pulled a really good prank. Ha ha - you got me. I am sure the horror of landing undeniably in middle age will eventually hit me, but for now, I giggle every time I think about it.
My birthday is not my favorite day of the year. It's not about being older; the day just comes with a lot of baggage. On Saturday, the day before my birthday, I spontaneously jumped at the idea of going hiking with my husband and the dogs. He goes every weekend while I ride, so he was a little surprised that I wanted to go. Tobias, our black lab, was celebrating his 9th birthday, so it was easier for me to "celebrate" my birthday weekend on someone else's "special day."
We headed out to the Wind Wolves Preserve, a spot my husband enjoys. From the website: Wind Wolves Preserve is in an ecologically unique region where the Transverse Ranges, Coast Ranges, Sierra Nevada, western Mojave Desert and San Joaquin Valley influences converge. Due to elevation ranges from 640 to 6,005 feet, the Preserve has an impressive array of landforms and habitats that serve as a critical landscape linkage and wildlife corridor between the Coast Ranges and Sierra Nevada.
There is a large network of trails to explore, but my husband had already picked out our hike. With such a beautiful, clear day, he knew that a hike to the top of the ridge would give us an excellent view of the valley below. He was right. With the dogs jogging ahead - Yellow Dog, and sometimes lagging behind - old man Tobias, we made the climb, pausing occasionally to look back.
After a short break to catch our breath, we all hiked back down to the trail head where the dogs played in the creek, very happy to cool off. With all our drinking water consumed and me with the beginnings of a headache, we decided to grab lunch at a taco truck that lives on the corner on Old River Road. That taco truck has been on that corner for as least long as I've lived in Bakersfield. It's literally in the middle of nowhere. The food is excellent though. My husband had a water, but I needed some caffeine. A Coke and three amazing tacos later, and I felt much better. On the way home, we stopped by Nothing Bundt Cakes for some mini birthday cakes.
On my actual birthday, I rode Izzy in the morning, and then my husband enjoyed a burger and fries from my favorite mom and pop diner. Later in the afternoon I visited with my parents on FaceTime while I opened presents. I had forgotten what I had wished for, so it was with real surprise when I opened my gifts and saw a proper stethoscope. My equine medical kit has nearly everything you might need in an emergency, including a stethoscope, but the one I had bought a million years ago was as cheap as I could find. With Izzy's recent bout of colic and ulcers, I had mentioned to my stepmom that I could really use a good quality stethoscope.
My stepmom works in the medical field, so she consulted some of her friends and colleagues and bought the stethoscope that they actually use while treating patients. I immediately tried it out on myself, my husband, and the dog. It was amazing to be able to hear every heart beat without trying to guess as the connection came and went like with my old stethoscope. Not that I want one of my horses to get sick or anything, but I am looking forward to putting it to use.
Among some other pretty amazing gifts, my husband also bought me a new solar charger to replace the one that was stolen while at the Santa Barbara Dressage show. I was really bummed to have lost my other one. I use it to charge my phone at night while camping in my trailer. This is an upgraded model with a few features the other one didn't have.
All in all, turning 50 turned out to be a pretty pleasant experience. I don't recommend it for the feint of heart though. It does take some life experience to make the leap. Like one of my students pointed out, turning 50 means you're half-way there.
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%: