From Endurance to Dressage
I've written about Dessa Hockley's book, Is Your Horse a Rock Star?, so many times now that the book should have its own category on my Topic bar. Seriously. But honeslty, the book is that good. The paperback sells on Amazon for $14.99, and no, I don't get a cut (although I should!).
When I last talked about the book, it was in reference to my big brown horse, Izzy. I still feel the same way. He is definitely the Wild Card - Dominate, Energetic, Afraid, and Friendly. Unfortunately for me, it's a bit of a lethal combination, but a continued desire to understand what motivates him is what brought me back to the book again.
It's not that I am trying something new every other day with him, but I am always searching for ways to better understand him. He's been a tough nut to crack. Most of my other horses have been less dominate than he is which makes it easier to get them on my side.
My favorite horse of all time, Montoya DSA, was The Macho Man (Dominate, Energetic, Curious, and Aloof). I absolutely adored her because her confidence was so freaking high. If you could hang on, she would get you through a race. She could read the trail ribbons better than most riders, and if she saw a hill, all she could think was bring it on! She ate up the endurance trail like it was candy. Figuring out what motivated her was easy: she just wanted to be pointed at a trail, any trail, and then be left to do her job.
Speedy is The Goddess (Submissive, Energetic, Curious, Friendly). If he was a bit more dominate, he would be a Rock Star, and frankly, there are days when he does fall into that category. For The Goddess, the relationship is everything. Right now, Speedy's a bit pissed at me because he's not getting the saddle time he thinks he deserves. The ear pinning and tail swishing are dead give-aways that he's feeling slighted.
Speedy's mission in life is to be adored by me, and anyone else in his vicinity is welcome to jump on that band wagon as well. It doesn't matter what we do; he's happy to please as long as accolades and adoration are his reward. Cookies and candies are also expected. As The Goddess, he is, after all, a divinity.
There have been many other horses too, just check out My Horses in the menu above, but none have been quite so hard to figure out as Izzy. All of my previous horses (except for Sydney) have been pretty confident. While Mickey was pretty fearful of people, the second my butt hit his back, he gave all power to me and trusted me with his life. He was an amazing horse under saddle and used my confidence as his own.
I re-read parts of Hockley's book over the weekend for a bit more insight into Izzy's personality. One thing that she stresses repeatedly if you have a Wild Card is that you remain the boss, especially on the ground. This is a constant battle with Izzy.
He has always been a bit of a playful nipper, but lately, his nips have become more aggressive. He's not being mean, just VERY playful and intent on trying to one-up me. The other day, he got me in the shoulder hard enough to leave a temporary mark. Because I was standing on a fence rail, I wasn't able to smack him as soundly as I wanted to, but I made my point. He cantered off with his feelings hurt.
Over the past week, I've been vigilant to the extreme in letting him know that he is not permitted to put his mouth on me. Dang, but the booger is persistent. I'm more stubborn than he is though, and he is starting to develop a conscience.
Hockley's book has once again given me food for thought. My horse isn't broken or damaged in any way. He just has a personality type that isn't as easy as say The Goddess or The People Pleaser. The Wild Card is motivated by a need to be bossy (she calls it his big D), but with the fear gene running through him, he lacks the confidence to back up his bravado. That's okay. I have enough confidence for the both of us, and I am not afraid to use it.
Izzy might be a bit of a Wild Card, but as they say, if you learn to play your cards right ...
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
*** SCEC 10/15-16/22
2022 Completed …
(*) Tehachapi 5/22/22
(*) Tehachapi 7/24/22
(***) Tehachapi 8/28/22
2023 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
Qualifying Training Level
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%:
Score 1: 62.115%