From Endurance to Dressage
Hopefully done without too much whining on my part, although a glass or two at night has sure helped ...
This week's work schedule has me doing some extra duties with an extra meeting thrown in for good measure. The extra duties mean that I need to get to work extra early if I want to actually finish my job at a time that will allow me to visit my ponies. So the first half of my day has been really long, like get to work at 6:30 a.m. long. Many of you are thinking, no big deal. I get to work that early every day. It is a bit bothersome since the paid part of my day doesn't actually begin until 7:50 a.m. I am off at 3:20, but yesterday my meeting went past 3:45 and I worked through lunch.
Enough. I said I'd write this without a lot of whining. So why am I working such long hours? If I get to work early, I get my job done which means I can leave "on time." Or almost. This gives me that wonderful hour and a half in the afternoons to ride and play with my boys. That afternoon time helps me blow off all of the grrs and grouchiness that I would otherwise be bringing home to hubby.
I was really grateful that I did suck it up enough to get to the barn yesterday. It was hot, but the thermometer only read low 90s. The humidity was high however, and the air was very still, no breeze at all. When I pulled into the barn driveway, Speedy eagerly came over to the fence and started his feed-me-pet-me-I-know-you! singing. Sydney on the other hand was standing pressed up against the side of his stall with his nose dragging in the dirt. He hardly noticed me. Crud.
I offered Sydney some horse cookies and was relived when he took them eagerly. I fly sprayed him, which helped a little to lighten his mood, but not much. What really perked him up was the sound of the feed buckets being filled. Hmm ... maybe things aren't as bad I think.
I gave Speedy a quick hosing, saddled up, and enjoyed a 25 minute ride. We worked on the same old stuff, but he wasn't being all that cooperative. No matter how much I squeezed, he just would not come up to the bit. Instead, he just got rounder and rounder until I was literally riding a beach ball. There was nothing in my hands. Zero. I Squeezed him forward and gave him all of the rein. He moved out, but the second I picked up on the rein, he went round, too round. I asked for a canter which can sometimes "unstick" him. That went well, but as soon as we returned to trot work, he returned to that behind the bit position. This is something we need to continue working on.
Once Speedy was tucked back into his stall, I tried to relieve Sydney's dejected look. Everything seemed fine. I gave him the endurance check: fresh pee spot - check. Fresh poop - check. Eating - check. Drinking - hope so. I skipped the actual metabolic checks (pulse, gut, hydration, temperature) because the next check (will grass "fix" things?) showed me that it was a fly/heat/no breeze combination that had him feeling lethargic.
I put his fly sheet back on and brought him over to the wash rack. I hosed him and the fly sheet and he visibly perked up. I hung the fly sheet to drip dry and led Sydney to the lawn to graze. From the video that I posted, you can see that we have several acres of lovely lawn. Sydney LOVES lawn. I let him graze the entire perimeter. He got happier and perkier the longer we were out there. An occasional gust of air would sweep over him, driving away the gnats, and cooling his still wet body. I could almost see him sigh.
Once he was back in his stall, I fed both boys their beet pulp/rice bran and fed all four horses dinner. When I left, everyone looked happy and relaxed.
So ... working ridiculously early hours is definitely worth it. It allows me to spend time at the barn every day without cutting into the time I spend cooking dinner and hanging out with my husband. As I write, it's still early a.m. and he's fast asleep. I'd rather miss morning sleep than an evening relaxing.
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%: