From Endurance to Dressage
I don't know how widespread the news was, but Kern County was hit by severe thunderstorms on Thursday afternoon that caused devastating mudslides closing two of our major highways - Interstate 5, and Highway 58.
Interstate 5 is California, Oregon, and Washington's major traffic artery. It flows from Mexico to Canada, carrying not only passenger vehicles, but the big trucks that keep our economy humming along. Highway 58 connects California's Central Valley to the eastern side of the state. It's one of the larger highways that passes through the Sierra Nevada. Even a short closure of either I-5 or Highway 58 could cause an economic headache.
Since California has been in such a severe drought, we've lost much of the vegetation that serves to keep our dirt where it belongs. When the thunderstorm hit, it dropped several inches of rain on wild fire scarred hillsides that simply collapsed within minutes.
I've seen a number of videos that drivers shot as they passed through the area, and some of them looked terrifying. Water and mud simply came rushing off the mountains, trapping hundreds of vehicles beneath six feet of mud.
Word spread quickly that I-5 was closed, and the closure of Highway 58 came soon after. We're accustomed to short closures of these highways as they are occasionally closed overnight for snow and ice, but the Department of Transportation and the Highway Patrol usually get the road open within hours. When images of the mud started surfacing on the news, we knew this wouldn't be a short closure.
To the surprise of most southern Californians, heavy equipment was rushed to I-5 and by late Friday afternoon, traffic was once again inching over the Grapevine, the portion of I-5 that drops into Kern County. Highway 58 is closed indefinitely. CAL-Trans and the CHP say it might be a week or more before that area is open for traffic.
The reason I share this is because this is the weekend for Chemaine to come for another casual clinic. On Friday morning, I was pretty confident that the weekend would be a bust. I doubted the road would be safe enough for her to make the trip, and even if it was open for a few hours, I worried it might close before she could get back home on Sunday.
I will never again complain about CAL-Trans. Those guys and gals must have worked their tails off through the night and early morning to open I-5, no easy task. On Friday afternoon, texts and Facebook messages started flying, celebrating I-5s opening.
Our first ride is scheduled for 7:30 a.m. I received a text not long ago that Chemaine is heading our way, safe without any delays. So ... A, enter mudslide, but proceed to X!
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%: