From Endurance to Dressage
A Moment to Reflect
That sounded so much better than "a whiny moment." I try really hard not to whine as I really am an optimist. I look for the good in a situation first, and I usually find the silver lining. I don't let myself feel victimized, and I don't blame anyone else when life goes awry.
Even so, there are days when things just don't go my way. Yesterday's ride was one of those times. It was so bad that I came home and hugged the crap out of Tobias, our 90 pound black lab. That dog is the most tolerant, long suffering animal on the planet. I sat on the floor, wrapped both arms around his considerable girth, and buried my face in his shoulder. I breathed deeply and felt much of the disappointment and frustration of the day seep slowly from my body .
I don't know what went wrong during the ride. Well that's not exactly true as everything went wrong; Izzy was a ball of unrelenting tension who also thought his ass was on fire. I'm pretty sure he was also hearing voices and seeing dead people. I just don't know why it went so terribly wrong.
It started the moment my butt touched the saddle. I did nothing but walk for the first 15 minutes in an effort to soothe him and get him thinking about me being up there. I should have quit right there, but I proceeded to work for another 30 minutes at the trot thinking going forward might dissipate some of that tension. I half halted every stride but he simply would not or could not soften his body.
When those 45 minutes yielded nothing. I took him on a hack around the neighborhood; 30 minutes later, he was still throwing a temper tantrum. By that point, I knew we had to at least try to end the day with at least one right answer, so I put him to work certain that he would finally take a deep breath and give it up. Nope.
As a last ditch effort, I tried to school a few halts. As soon as I patted his neck and said good b... - he tried to bolt, and not for the first time if the day. Holy cow. When a horse can't even stop (I gave up on a halt) after an hour and a half, it's time to hang it up.
I pulled his saddle in the arena like I usually do and watched as he cantered and trotted along the fence line. When I went to get him a few minutes later, I did some easy ground work - walking at my shoulder and then backing a few steps. I desperately needed him to feel successful about something from the day.
I don't mind a setback, especially if I know what has caused it. In this case, I am baffled. We've had more than a week of fabulous rides. I had a haircut planned for this afternoon, but I've already cancelled it. I really want to get back on him this afternoon and see if we can do a quick see I told you you can do it ride. If he'll give me anything that resembles normal work, I'll call it a day.
And if not, there might be a for sale sign taped to his butt. Horses ... sheesh!
4/14/2016 06:32:21 am
I'm so rooting for success for you. I'm just tossing ideas out.
4/14/2016 06:48:03 am
All good suggestions, Carol, but I am using most of them already.
Ugh, I'm sorry. I hope the next ride is better. I think sometimes there isn't a reason; sometimes they have bad days just like us.
4/14/2016 07:05:53 am
Man, I'm so sorry. I know how absolutely crushing rides like that can be, especially after lots of good rides. I don't have much advice other than to hang in there and keep on keeping on, it WILL get better! Oh and have a PB&J or some mac-n-cheese. :)
4/14/2016 08:34:17 am
Sometimes a horse just has to let it out. No purpose, no worries.. just be a horse. I know it sounds out of character but sometimes relaxation can only come from letting it all out.
Sorry to hear you had such a bad ride, here's hoping it was just a blip in the journey and not part of a larger issue.
4/15/2016 06:32:54 pm
Hi Karen: sorry you had a difficult ride. If this is uncommon for this horse, I might look into the possibility of ulcers. No one can tell you he doesn't have them unless he's scoped, so you may want to treat him just in case. Having a few horses in training that have had them, the behavior you described could certainly be ulcers. I've treated with Omeprezole 30 days and then one week per month. There are various other treatments available as well. Also make sure your saddle fits your horse perfectly. Good luck!
4/15/2016 07:33:02 pm
Bad rides always leave me feeling rotten the rest of the day/night.
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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)
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3 Scores/2 Judges/60%: