From Endurance to Dressage
On Friday, February 19th, my blog celebrated its 10th anniversary. Wow, where does the time go? In some ways, it feels as though I've been writing about my dressage hits and misses forever. At the same time, it seems like I am still just a dressage newbie tootling around the arena. I used to publish a new post seven days a week, but after a few years, I decided Monday through Friday was enough. My platform doesn't give me a count, but I estimate that I've posted in excess of 3,500 posts.
I've never gone back to reread from start to finish; it would take too long. Occasionally, I'll search for an old post, and when I do, I have to laugh at myself. I always sound so cheerful, so enthusiastic. Of course, there are the times I sound sad and frustrated too, but there are far fewer of those posts. I'm a Pollyanna at heart; I can't help but look for the silver lining.
From the very beginning, I vowed to be honest. In general, I am not the sort of person that toots my own horn. Sure, I share my successes, it would be unhealthy not to, but I tend to write more about the train wrecks; they're more interesting to write about. The truth is, there's not nearly so much to be learned from winning whereas the opportunities to learn from failure are many.
While I wrote about a variety of things in those first few weeks, by early March I was already critiquing my own riding and striving to get better. I had been riding all my life, but I had never had formal lessons. Staying on was what I was good at. I could ride 100 miles in less than 24 hours, but I didn't know my posting diagonals nor did I know how to pick up "the correct" lead. I knew from the start that whatever Speedy was doing wrong was because of me. Evaluating my riding was a theme I would continue to explore for the next ten years.
Right from the beginning I connected with a lot of other riders who felt like I did. We weren't beautiful riders, but that's all we saw in magazines, television, and movies. I figured that if I honestly documented my journey by showing the bad photos and voiced my "dumb" questions, someone out there was going to learn something without all of us needing to be embarrassed. I took one for the team so to speak.
While I didn't get many public comments on the blog itself, readers regularly emailed me instead. I loved getting those messages from people who thanked me for showing what it's really like to struggle. I still do. Of course, I also got public comments from people who thought (and still think) that I am a tone deaf idiot. Last year I had to finally close the comments. I felt that if someone took the time to reach out to me, I felt an obligation to respond. Eventually, I just couldn't keep up with the conversations.
Of course, this all coincided with COVID-19. One thing I have learned this year is that my viewpoint is not that of the majority of Americans. The things I hold dear and sacrosanct are not the same things that the rest of the world values. I am a registered Libertarian, and the platform of that political party is one I stand behind 100%. The basics are these:
Throughout the ten years that I have been blogging, I have been criticized numerous times for my beliefs. When it comes to how I spend my money, or how I don't spend my money, I've been characterized as cold and heartless. When I've spoken about COVID and schools, I was called tone deaf and insensitive. I think someone even called me a psychopath. For what? For questioning the choices that our government has made on our behalf?
There was a lot more in the middle ...
Choosing to write so publicly about my life and my life choices is of course an invitation to evaluate, judge, and critique those choices. I get it. I welcome it. Not everyone is going to agree with me, and you shouldn't. I insist that my own students think critically for themselves. I give them opportunities each day to participate in the conversation with the only rule being that we treat each other respectfully. I start the conversation, but I only manage it without voicing my own opinions unless it's to say good thinking to a student or to challenge her to clarify her thinking.
This little piece of the internet is a place I love to visit. I enjoy writing about my dressage journey, stuff to buy, my four legged family members, books, travel, and sometimes even what is happening in the world. Just as much, I value having YOU to talk to. As I write, I picture YOU on the other side of my screen. What will you think about what I've written? What is your experience? Is it different from mine? Will you respond? Sometimes you answer, most times you don't, but each day I still look forward to what you might have to say, even when we disagree.
So, here's to the next ten years. Will they bring world peace? Probably not. Is there a USDF Silver Medal in my future? Fingers crossed. I hope you'll keep reading and maybe even comment now and then, but if not, that's okay too. I'll keep writing even if it's just to my mom(s) and dad.
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%: