From Endurance to Dressage
A Win-Win-Win Situation
Speedy has a way of fulfilling his own needs. I wish Izzy could do that. Whatever Speedy needs seems to make itself available. Ever since retiring him from a competitive working life in 2020, there have been a steady stream of ladies who have used him to relieve their horsey bug bites. Last week, Speedy met his newest lady, Brooke.
Brooke and I actually knew each other about 20 years ago. I was in my early twenties and she was a teenager. That was back when I had just started endurance riding with my friend Marci. Brooke was also riding one of Marci's horses, and Marci was mentoring her in much the same way she had mentored me. One thing led to another and Brooke moved on to college and adulthood.
In December, I was invited to a ladies Christmas social in my neighborhood. I chatted with friends and was introduced to several very interesting ladies, one of whom was Margaret. She's in her 80s, but we hit it off. Who knows how it happens, but horse people always find one another. During the conversation she mentioned Marci's name, and I suddenly realized that she was Brooke's mother. That of course started a whole different conversation. When Margaret said that Brooke still loved riding and wanted to get back to it, I gave her my number and told her to pass it on to her daughter. A few weeks later, Brooke sent me a text.
Without wasting any time, we arranged to meet last Wednesday. I knew that Brooke was a triathlete, but once she was standing in front of me, I felt like the world's chunkiest, out of shape rider. Brooke weighs 100 pounds soaking wet and has zero body fat. Cardio fitness would not be a problem.
Whenever anyone comes to ride Speedy who hopes to become a frequent visitor, I always do my "spiel." I talk about rider safety, horse safety, and how Speedy likes to be treated. I show that person how to saddle him (he's a bit cold backed), and how to bridle him (he likes it done just so). Brooke took it all in with an open and receptive attitude. While we were tacking up, I talked a little about the purpose of dressage, how it benefits all horses, and of course the aids. By the time we walked up to the arena, I am sure Brooke's head was swimming with information.
We had had a record rainfall the night before, so the arena was really wet, but we can almost always use the C end as the arena has a really good sandy base. We had one sloppy spot to contend with, but we used that spot as a natural half halt. It was too wet to do any canter work, and I don't usually like to move on to the canter work until the rider has had at least one walk/trot ride. Speedy has a lot of buttons, so simply working on his different walk and trot gaits is usually enough for one lesson.
It is always so gratifying when a rider expresses joy in riding Speedy. I love sharing him and showing him off. Brooke was amazed at how light and soft Speedy is, and she loved that his gaits were so rideable. She also appreciated how carefully Speedy listened to her. It was obvious to both of us that Speedy was thoroughly enjoying himself.
I was not sure if Brooke found what she was hoping for, but before we were even halfway done, I knew that she wanted to try to make this a regular thing. As we untacked, we talked about schedules and my availability. For now, she plans to come out on Saturday mornings to ride after my own lesson with Sean Cunningham, owner and trainer at STC Dressage. As I told her, this is a win-win-win for all of us. Speedy gets to play regularly again, I get the opportunity to teach, and Brooke gets to ride without any of the expenses normally associated with horses.
Here's to Speedy's new girl, cheers!
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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%: