From Endurance to Dressage
We are really and truly doing this. Izzy's name is on the ride schedule, and we have times - good ones, I might add. I specifically asked for as late a time as possible because of the lengthy warm up we're (probably) going to need.
I never run through the tests with Speedy. Not even when we were showing Training Level. I would do chunks of the tests, but never a whole test all the way through. Speedy is too smart. If I ran through the test, he would have it memorized immediately, and then he'd be trying to tell me what to do. He already does that at home.
Izzy is an entirely different horse. He's not nearly as sharp as Speedy. He's a firecracker for sure, but he's not much of a thinker. He's much more of a reactionary and lives very much in the moment. While Speedy anticipates, even plotting his next move at times, Izzy always seems surprised by my aids. Which is something I need to sharpen up; he's not convinced that trot at C means RIGHT NOW, DAMMIT!
I realized that it might be helpful to run through the tests with him. I figured it might build some confidence if he felt a sense of routine and familiarity. So that's what I did on Wednesday afternoon; we ran through Training Level Test 3 several times. I was actually really pleased with parts of the test, especially the first time through. The second time we rode it, he started to get sassy which tells me he was feeling some self-confidence.
I'll do the same thing this afternoon and tomorrow. I am really focusing on riding him like I will during the test. There are no do-overs and no circling back. No matter what he does, I am schooling him for the test.
However it goes on Sunday, I'll be glad just to have schooled him to the point where I think he might be ready to show. For so long our daily rides were all about getting him to listen to me without constant jackassery. Even considering him maybe ready for a show is a huge win.
Wish us luck!
I am a little late on this post. I am probably trying to avoid seeing numbers that are depressing. This is the third year I've tracked my equine spending, and I've come to the realization that it's not horses in particular that are expensive; it's LIFE that costs so much.
This has been an expensive year. Every time I turn around, I have some new bill to take care of. While many of them are connected to my horses, just as many aren't. Car trouble, truck trouble, dog trouble. It's just never ending.
I unhooked my truck on Sunday to go fill it up and run it through the car wash. It's not a task I enjoy, so as I drove out of my way just for a fill up, I started whining a bit. I was thinking about the thousands of dollars I spend each month on this crazy horse life and began to wish that I was one of those people whose fingernails are always clean. Who doesn't stink every single day on the drive home. Who doesn't have hay in all of her pockets and usually her hair.
And just as suddenly, I realized that there there must be thousands of women who wished they were just like me. Someone with a truck and trailer. Someone who can ride horses any day of the week. Someone who has hay in her pockets and in her hair.
Yes, life is expensive, but I think I've got a good one.
You get three guesses, one for each braid, to figure out why I would be braiding Izzy's mane. Yep. We're going to a show on Sunday.
When Speedy didn't make it to RAAC, I realized that my biggest goal for the season, earning our Bronze Medal, wasn't going to happen (yet). In light of that, it didn't seem like there were a whole lot of reasons to take him to the final Tehachapi show of the season as it's only CDS-rated. While Speedy and I might have earned two more scores for our annual plate, I was more interested in getting Izzy some show miles.
Back in 2016, I took Izzy to 4 schooling shows and a CDS show in Tehachapi. He kept his act (mostly) together for those shows, but his tension was so high that we scored solidly in the 50s. We even earned a 49%. Twice. Once Speedy was recovered from whatever injury he had in 2016, Izzy went back to school and hasn't shown since.
Speedy's not injured, but it's finally time to start doing something with Izzy. When I sat down to fill out the entry form, I entered all of my association numbers and wrote Izzy's RPSI name in the horse section. As my pen hovered over Level and Test, I paused. For a really long time. I paused for days actually. I just didn't know at what level we should show. He has a pretty nice half pass. His stretchy trot is lovely. He can do simple changes when he's really connected. His medium trot is still developing. Basically, we're schooling many of the movements from First to Third Level.
Then it dawned on me that my purpose isn't to show off anything. I am not trying to get a judge's opinion on the quality of any of the movements. I don't really care about his canter through trot at X or whether his trot lengthening showed a difference. All I want to see is if he can get in the ring and not lose his marbles. I decided that he can reliably do all of the movements at Training Level, so we're doing T1 and T3.
I have no idea how we'll do. At home, I can now work with him even when he's tense and anxious. When he's relaxed, which is most of the time, he's Mr. McDreamy. When he's tense, he looks it, but at least he'll still play ball. Hopefully our first ride time isn't too early because we're going to need a long warm up.
Aren't there rules about that sort of thing? What's the time limit anyway?
I wanted to be unimpressed. I wanted to be disappointed. I was neither. Holy smokes, people, the Haas magic is real. It's a thing, and I am now under the spell.
I needed to spend just a few dollars more on a recent Riding Warehouse purchase in order to get free shipping, so I searched through their collection of Haas brushes until I found one that seemed like it would suit my needs without breaking the bank. I ended up choosing the Haas Fellglanzburste Grooming Body Brush. The list price is $16.95, but with a 15% discount code, I only paid $14.41. I've spent more on lesser brushes for sure.
Out of the box, there were no sparks or love at first site. It wasn't as soft as I was expecting, and the handle felt sturdy but not magical. Haas prides themselves on the quality of their bristles, so I was a bit disappointed to notice that one of the holes on the edge was missing its bristles. It didn't seem worth sending it back though, so I tried it out on Yellow Dog who thought it was the best brush she'd ever felt. I was reserving judgement.
My favorite grooming tool of all time is a jelly scrubber, those plasticky things that run around $4.00. I have several that are now old enough to be super flexible. Both of my horses like them, and they work equally well in winter or summer. They are the first tool I grab, and sometimes the only tool I use.
Since Speedy was particularly crusty on Saturday morning, I dug into his coat with the jelly scrubber. I can scrub pretty vigorously along his neck, shoulders, belly, and hind quarters, but I have to use a much lighter touch across his back. Here's what the jelly scrubber lifted out of his hind end.
After a solid going over with the jelly scrubber, I took out the Haas Fellglanzburste. I am not going to lie. Within about three strokes I was hooked. I cannot explain it, but the brush felt ... alive in my hand. I could feel the bristles working their way through Speedy's coat, almost like my own fingers. But best of all was that he let me use firm pressure all over his whole body, including his back!
It was almost addictive. I brushed and brushed and brushed and brushed removing layer after layer of deep dirt. Speedy never fussed or grew tired of the grooming session, and he's not the biggest fan of being groomed. The brush worked equally well on the larger areas as it did on his legs and even his face (I was quite gentle there).
I found that shorter strokes helped lift the dirt from his skin, and then a gentle flick sent it off his coat without settling back down. After grooming his whole body, his coat felt clean and soft, almost as a good as after a shampoo.
I also used the brush on Izzy who responded in the same way. He is slightly less picky than Speedy, but he does let me know if I am too firm with the jelly scrubber. He never flinched with the Fellglanzburste brush.
This brush is of a medium stiffness, but it worked great on both of my horses' fine summer coats. I don't know how it will do on heavy winter coats, but now that I've tried one of the Haas brushes, I will definitely be adding more. And fortunately for me, there is a huge selection from which to choose.
Which ones are you using?
Speedy has had 4 abscesses in the past 8 months. He's 15 years old but had never had one before this past winter. There is no doubt that the abscesses are directly related to his Cushing's Disease diagnosis.
I tend to be pretty proactive in the vet care department. When I know I can't treat something, I call the vet immediately. But by keeping my med kit well stocked, I find that life is a lot easier. For one, emergencies are a lot less stressful, and two, I can pretty effectively treat most run-of-the-mill injuries, and even some not so basic issues, all without the need for a visit from the vet. Izzy's recent eye wound comes to mind. There is still a small area that needs to finish healing, but having saline solution and an irrigation syringe handy probably saved me a vet bill.
When Speedy developed a hoof abscess earlier this month, I was thankful to have had plenty of bandaging material and Numotizine in my med kit. While I didn't use all of the Numotizine, I put a pretty big dent in the tub. So much so that the next time he abscesses, I'll only have enough for one or two wraps.
I was also unbelievably lucky that my farrier showed up while I was on the phone with the vet. Within 10 seconds he was able to diagnose an abscess which saved me a long trip across town and a vet bill. He was able to make such a quick diagnosis because he had hoof testers and a hoof knife at his finger tips. I'll give you a quick guess as to what now resides in my med kit.
Yep. I bought myself hoof testers and a hoof knife. While there are many hoof testers on the market, I reasoned that I didn't need a professional grade pair. I won't be using them that often, and with any luck, never again, so I went with a modest pair. I ended up ordering the Tough 1 Pro Hoof Tester 13" from the Riding Warehouse. At $29.95, less with a 15% coupon code, they're perfect.
Not wanting to be a total chick about my new tool, I cut away the wrapper and actually made sure I knew how to use it before a crisis strikes. I poked around at both Speedy's and Izzy's hooves trying to determine just how hard I need to squeeze. I eventually realized that I can squeeze as hard as I can without getting a reaction on a healthy hoof.
You'll notice that I also bought a hoof knife. It's a fairly cheap one, but again, I don't plan on needing it very often. It's a stainless steel, double edged knife that feels good in my hand. It seems sharp, but I didn't test it out. I actually hope I never need to use it. At $3.95, it's practically disposable anyway.
And since I was prepping for future abscesses, I decided to restock my dwindling supply of Numotizine. My last tub was half this size and cost $40 (from the vet). This tub, a full 3 pounds, ran me only $33 including free shipping from Amazon. Amazon Prime is the best "club" we belong to.
Here's to hoping that neither of my horses ever abscesses again, but if they do, I am armed and ready!
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 Second Level. 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%
2021 Show Season
(r) Ride-a-Test Clinic
(Q) Must Qualify
2021 Pending …
3/6-7 El Sueño (***)
4/17-18 El Sueño (***)
5/16-17 El Sueño (***)
5/23 TMC (*)
6/12-13 SB (***) OR
6/19-20 El Sueño (***)
6/27 TMC (*)
7/3-4 Burbank (***) OR
7/17-18 El Sueño (***)
7/25 TMC (*)
8/14-15 RAAC (Q) (***)
8/29 TMC (*)
2021 Completed …
10/24-25 SCEC (***)
11/7-11/8 SB (***)
2021 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
2nd Level Qualifying
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%:
Score 1: 60.610% Bhathal
2nd Level Qualifying
5 Scores/4 Judges/61%:
Stuff I Read