From Endurance to Dressage
I went riding yesterday, but it was aboard four wheels instead of four hooves. We took a few days this week to head to our cabin. It's not fancy, but it is removed from the hustle and bustle of daily life. We have no phone or cell service. There's no cable or satellite TV. Instead, we read, play games, eat, hike, and ride the quads.
Truth be told, we haven't ridden the quads very much over the last year. A trip to Europe ate up some of our vacation time and a summer remodel made visiting a bit rougher than I like. A leaky water line was the next hold up. It seems, at last, that everything is shipshape once again. We started up the bikes on the first day, but just puttered around the "neighborhood" working on yet another water issue. The next day, a knock on our door by a friendly neighbor asking if we'd like to go for a ride, got hubby and I into our riding gear and out on the trail. It felt good to be back in the "saddle."
Surprisingly, trail riding quads is a very similar experience to trail riding horseback. At least it is for us. Maybe that's because I make them similar. Hubby and I are very safety conscious. We ride with proper fitting boots, gloves, and helmets. We ride in a buddy system - no one ever goes out alone. We ride only as fast as the slowest person can mange ... that would be me. We always pack water bottles, a snack, maps, and ID. We stay on the marked trail and keep alert for oncoming vehicles and wildlife. I am particularly worried about mountain lions and bears!
Our ride with Neighbor Jim turned out to be quite fun. He had two friends with him so our trail ride really was like an equine trail ride. We rode in a long line of riders, each person keeping a safe distance from the rider in front. At wide spots in the trail, the lead rider stopped to allow everyone to catch up and to make sure that no one had been left behind or had had trouble. The front rider rotated into the line to allow another rider the opportunity to lead.
We ride on designated Off Highway Vehicle trails that have been established for that specific purpose. The trails wander through dense forest and climb to over 8,000 feet. We splashed through snow fed puddles, plowed through deep snow drifts, and climbed over granite rock outcroppings (my least favorite!). As we neared the top of the mountain, my gas gauge, low to begin with, began to point scarily to the E. I showed Hubby, the gear-head in this family, who quickly decided that we had to turn back.
The group we were riding with agreed that we had ridden far enough and devised a safe strategy for getting me home. Neighbor Jim pointed out that I should never be in the back for fear that I would quietly run out of gas while the others rode merrily on ahead. We agreed to return on the trails toward home as they are far quicker than just staying on the road. The trails do cross the road several times, which is downhill all the way back to the cabin, but we decided to save that option only if absolutely necessary.
Fortunately, we didn't need to use the road, and all five of us made it back safely. After removing our helmets and kicking the dirt off our boots, we simply pulled the keys and left the quads where they had stopped. No grooming, watering, or feeding needed! Now we just need to remember to bring a couple of gallons of gas with us on our next trip! Click photos for larger view.
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%: