From Endurance to Dressage
I feel like sitting out on the street corner with a can and a sign that says, Will scoop poop for hay. June was a killer month for bills. I did two shows, sent my boots in for a repair, replaced my helmet after my fall in May, and had my saddle's flocking adjusted to more suitably fit both boys. That stuff is rather expensive. I also spent a bundle on my truck. Unfortunately, that also included tires which will be paid for in July.
Thankfully, Speedy's little tummy ache only cost me the price of a tube of Banamine, under $40, which will also be paid for in July. I hope to get through July without quite so much damage to my checking account.
If you're just joining this series, you can read about the first five months of the year by clicking this link. Click images to enlarge.
I know I say this every 6 weeks or so, but it is the truth. Jaime Osbrink is simply the best. And as always, it's not just his farrier work that is so great. He's an all around great human being as well.
I rarely get to see him in person as he usually does his work while I am also at work. The summer visits are about the only ones I can actually be present for. During this visit, I found out that Jaime is waiting to take his Journeyman's test for the American Farriers Association in October. Jaime is already a Certified Tradesman Farrier.
This is really a big deal. The American Farriers Association (AFA) offers four levels of certification: 1. AFA Farrier Classification 2. Certified Farrier (AFA CF) 3. Certified Tradesman Farrier (AFA CTF) and 4. Certified Journeyman Farrier (AFA CJF).
As a special note to Val over at Memoirs of a Horse Girl, I asked my farrier about his experience with the hoof stand. His response was that it takes practice. He also disliked the sling and only uses it for draft horses. He uses the stand for all the work and just repositions the hoof so that he gets the angle he wants. He also rests one of his feet on the stand to keep it from toppling over.
When he was out on Tuesday, I managed to snap a few photos of the job he does. I didn't think about the camera until he was finished with Speedy G so all of these picks are of Sydney. Click images to enlarge.
If you are reading this expecting something not show related, I apologize. I know I said that I would have something else on Thursday other than score sheets, but Speedy's little tummy ache on Monday night threw off my blogging schedule. If you're bored with score sheets, stop right here and come back tomorrow, or go back and read about Speedy's tummy.
The second test of the day went about the same as the first except we actually cantered when we were supposed to. I didn't earn any 8s, but there were no 3s either. In fact, one of the few 5s was for the ... anyone, anyone? You got it - that bloody stretchy trot. I promise you, we WILL get the stretch.
I was quite happy with the overall score: seven 7s, six 6s, and only three 5s. The collective marks were also good. We've worked really hard on getting more activity from behind and the judge noticed. She commented that Speedy was "nicely forward." He "often braces through the neck" as well, but we can work on that later. One step at a time!
Our final score was 63.214% (177 points) which was good enough for a second out of four riders. The first place rider scored 178 points. She beat me by one point out of 280. How close is that? Click images to enlarge.
Let me first attempt to climb over the mountain of self-doubt that is sitting in front of me.
I am already trying to ditch an elephant named Fear. Now I find that a ginormous mountain has actually been blocking my view. How have I not recognized that there has been this mountain in front of me? You know the song, We're going on a bear hunt. We're gonna catch a big one. Uh-oh! A swamp! Can't go under it, can't go around it. Guess we're gonna have to go THROUGH it! Splish, splosh, splish splosh ...
That's how I feel about Mt. Self-doubt. Can't go under it, can't go around it. Guess I'm gonna have to go OVER it!
It is so much easier for a perfectionist like myself to believe the scores of the more critical judges. Sure, change that 6 to a 5. That 7? No way, must be a 6 at most. Heck, it's probably closer to a 5. That 4? That's probably right on the money.
I am making it my goal right this very minutes to accept the good scores as readily as I do the low scores, and this particular test might finally be proof to myself that the judges are truly marking it as they see it. Judge Carolyn Doran gave me a 3 and an 8 on the same test! Was she overly critical and overly generous in the same 45 seconds? I don't think so.
First piton in position ...
So here is how I felt during the test. We came in at A straight, and halted fairly squarely (7). The trot off wasn't the best, but it was okay. Trot circle felt good (7), and the canter transition happened much better than usual (6). The stretchy trot though was hit and miss (5). Free walk was a little pokey (6).
And then Speedy took a deep breath and sighed. Uh-oh. It wasn't a sigh of relaxation. It was more of an I think I'm done sigh. My next trot circle felt labored (6) and I knew we were in trouble for the canter which ... just ... wouldn't ... come (3). Right then I remembered some good advice: ride each movement. If something goes wrong, focus on improving the next movement. I know that our trot up the centerline is always solid so after we transitioned out of the canter between B and F, I sat up, put my leg on and nailed the turn at A. I kept my eyes up and on the judge and smiled as we trot up the centerline (8)!
We scored a 62.500%. The only other rider in the class scored a 64.167%, 4 points higher. So while we earned a second place, we weren't too far off the winning score. Click images to enlarge.
Someone had a tummy ache.
Hey! Where are the score sheets she promised yesterday? And what's this about watermelon?
Sorry. Yes, I know I was planning on writing about Sunday's show, but something came up last night. As you can see from the title it has to do with a summer treat.
Yesterday, I went to the barn in the afternoon instead of the morning since our weather has been so cool. All was well. Both Sydney and Speedy G got a handful of watermelon rinds over which they smacked their lips in delight. I gave them their beet pulp and came back home knowing that my boys were safe and and happy.
Less than three hours later, the phone rang. RM, the barn owner, was calling to say that Speedy wasn't looking well. He was pacing and pawing and didn't want his dinner. Uh-oh. I told her I was on my way. I live less than 10 minutes from the barn. When I arrived, RM was walking Speedy in the arena.
I listened to his gut - nothing. I watched his flanks for his rate of respiration - higher than normal. I tried to check his pulse, but he was too agitated to stand still. I asked for the lead rope explaining that I wanted to see how quickly he would lay down and once he did, what would he do.
Speedy rolled, but it wasn't violent. He also groaned a bit and then got back up. Yep. It was a belly ache. RM continued to walk him while I put in a call to my favorite vet, Dr. Blanton of Bakersfield Vet Hospital.
Speedy had just passed a nice pile of poop and obliged me with another pile as I was talking to Dr. B. When he pooped though, he did a bit of a squat, very unusual for him, and grunted. He also gave his flank a very suspicious glare. I related his odd pooping behavior to Dr. B as well as described his desire to lay down. He didn't really want to roll, just lay on his belly.
Her quick diagnosis was that he had a gas cramp most likely caused by the watermelon rind. (Hmm ... I've been feeding watermelon for years.) She prescribed a dose of Banamine which RM had waiting for me. I was to call back in an hour to see if that did the trick. Dr. B also confirmed that if a horse wants to lay down, let him. As long as he isn't hurting himself by rolling, it's okay to let them roll or just lay there.
I gave Speedy the Banamine and let him walk beside me around the arena. When we got to the far end where it is nicely shaded, I stopped to see if he would lay down. Sure enough, he plopped down and laid his head down. I tucked my feet under his back and leaned over to rub his belly. I also rocked his belly back and forth by pushing on him with my legs. He quickly lost the pained expression that was on his face and he started to perk up a bit. RM had come down to keep me company and we just sat and chat about nothing in particular. It was clear that Speedy was enjoying the company.
We sat in that position for about 15 minutes: Speedy resting on the ground with me rocking him back and forth. With a relaxed look on his face, Speedy stretched his front legs out in front of him, and I knew he wanted to get up. And that was it. I took his halter off and hung out with him for another half an hour. He shuffled around the arena looking for stuff to eat while occasionally head butting me to let me know that he wanted back in his stall so that he could start his dinner.
I called Dr. B back and gave her a run down on his current condition. She advised that he get only half his dinner, and if all looked well in the morning, he could go back to his regular schedule. She also admonished: if it comes from your kitchen, it's not horse feed. Apparently, watermelon is the most sugar-filled food you can give a horse. She also discourages the use of carrots and apples. Bummer. Speedy loves watermelon and enjoys it as a summer treat. I think I'll stick to official horse treats from now on.
Wicked, wicked watermelon!
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%