From Endurance to Dressage
I've written about our resident bunny a few different times. She came to us a year ago this spring. Reggie, the ranch handyman, found her abandoned in an apartment complex and brought her to live at the ranch. We thought the rabbit was a he, but we've since had her sexed. She's a she, and I somehow like her better for it. She's proven herself to be quite an independent and resourceful young gal.
In the sixteen months that she's been with us, she's changed quite a bit. She's gotten much larger, and she's grown bolder and also a bit more leery - which is a good thing. A few months ago, I found her three-legged lame. She hates to be picked up, and I every time I do it, our trust balance drops to nearly empty, but it just had to be done. I was so worried that she had suffered a fatal injury and was suffering.
I cautiously scooped her up - she kicked and clawed at me pretty ferociously, but after a moment she went still. I carefully felt all four legs as well as her body. There was no blood nor any other obvious wounds. Whatever had happened to her, a bum leg seemed to be the extent of her injuries. I gently put her back down knowing that she wasn't going to let me touch her again for a quite some time, if ever.
It took a while, but she healed up nicely and eventually forgave me. It doesn't hurt that she's highly food motivated. She comes out to see me on most days, darting between my feet waiting for me to hand her a pile of pellets. Initially, I fed her Speedy's senior feed (no molasses), but since discarding that, she now gets his rice bran pellets. In the beginning, she lived under the pallets in the hay barn and seemed to prefer the alfalfa to anything else. Now, she has made a new home (video below) and seems to prefer the grasses and weeds that grow nearby.
She's quite industrious. She has carved out an extensive system of tunnels all by herself. When she's not working, I've peeked down into her burrow and was surprised to discover that she has several tunnels. We've watched her both claw the dirt loose and use her teeth to loosen it. Then she either kicks it out with her feet, or more interestingly, she pushes it out with her chest.
We've seen her range quite far from her burrow which worries me to no end. Where she lives now, she has plenty of cover to protect her from predators, namely snakes, hawks, owls, and coyotes. When she wanders farther away, there's very little to protect her should a hawk spot her. In fact, sometimes we see her cooling her belly under one of the trucks. If we're sitting in our Equestrian Lounge, she'll pop over to see what we're doing, but she's extremely wary of strangers. She seems to understand that she's pretty vulnerable, but she does trust the ranch owner and myself, at least enough to beg goodies.
Wild rabbits, Lepus sylvaticus, typically live only one to two years while domestic rabbits, like Oryctolagus cuniculus, can live eight to fourteen years. (source - I know virtually nothing about rabbits.) Since our bunny doesn't live in a hutch, she probably won't survive as long as her breeding would suggest, but we think she's pretty happy none-the-less. If too many days go by without seeing her, I get really anxious and worry that she's been preyed upon, but then she reappears.
She has quality shelter, access to plentiful food and water, and the larger predators don't tend to come too close to the barn. We hope she's with us for many more years.
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%: