From Endurance to Dressage
A Glutton for Data
Last week, we had a surprisingly large amount of rain. For most of the country, it would have been viewed as a light shower, but for us, half an inch is one-twelfth of our annual rainfall, and we got it over three days. I couldn't ride for one of the days because it was actually pouring, and the next day I had a late meeting, so I only did buckets. It also rained hard that night, so I figured I wouldn't be riding the next day either.
When I got to the barn, I discovered it wasn't as soggy as I had expected it to be, but I was tired, and I figured the arena would benefit from a day of rest. The afternoon was so bright and pleasant though that I couldn't waste the daylight. I decided to hack around the ranch.
My loop for the past month has been the same. I start at the barn (the green dot above) and then head toward the river, circling the lower pasture. This is the prettiest place on the ranch, but it terrifies Izzy. He can't stand the babbling river. There is a large grove of trees between the trail and the river, but he is certain there are sea monsters lurking and lying in wait for some juicy horse flesh. No matter how many times I ride this stretch, he's nervous every time.
As we leave the river, I circle around the smaller paddocks. Speedy lives in the middle section, on the left. We ride by Izzy's paddock, the largest one adjacent to the barn, and then we head up towards the arena.
On the second loop around, I rode into the arena to check the footing. The top half of the arena is always drier than the bottom half, so I only needed to check one low spot; that's the tear drop shape in the photo above. From the arena, I like to ride out to the paved driveway and then head back toward the barn.
I don't know why it never occurred to me before, but for this ride, I turned on my Map My Run app. I've timed this ride several times, and it always takes about 10 minutes per loop, and I usually do 3 loops. From my endurance days, I know that a slow, ambling walk is about 3 miles an hour. A slow easy trot is about 5 miles per hour. Even knowing that, I was shocked to realize that one loop around the entire ranch is half a mile. The app tracked us for 1.56 miles.
While I always say "up to the arena," it turns out that I was right. Despite looking very flat, there is a wee bit of elevation gain from the river up to the driveway, about 20 feet. I started at the barn - where the elevation tracking in red starts in the screenshot above, and then headed "down" to the river. The elevation tracker clearly shows each of my three passes by the river - the lows, and then the top of the driveway - the highs.
What started out as a pleasant ride in the bright sunshine after a cleansing rain quickly turned into a geek fest of technology-driven analysis. I've learned that endurance and dressage riders have a lot in common. Both are very driven, detail oriented, and gluttons for data.
I've been both. To complete the trifecta, I'll need to move on to eventing. HAHA. Please no.
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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%: