From Endurance to Dressage
I know life is supposed to be about the journey, but sometimes it's nice to just get home and relax. We're not quite to the relaxed stage yet, but we're getting there. This move turned out to be much harder than I imagined it would be.
Standing out on our back patio listening to the cacophony of birds, I know it was worth it, but it was tough.
If you've ever bought a house, you know how difficult and stressful it can be. If you've ever bought and sold two houses in 30 days, you're wondering about my sanity. I am too, believe me.
I told you this already, but the house we owned sold in just 6 days. That meant we had to find a new house really, really fast. And to complicate matters, it needed to pretty much be our dream home, or at least be something close. We did find it, but it didn't go very smoothly. In my last post, I left you while I was waiting for the keys to our new house.
The keys did not come that day. To start off the chain of events that became a list of mini-disasters, the house we sold didn't close escrow on time. There was some complication with how the buyer paid her down payment. The next day, there was another glitch with the buyer - there was some kind of lean against the husband.
While these glitches were happening, we were living on takeout and paper plates. I had one pair of shoes at my disposal, and all my pants were packed.
Escrow on the house we were selling finally closed, but then we had a glitch. The lender needed one more bank statement from my husband, but I had literally just packed up the wireless router so we didn't have internet. Fortunately, our mortgage broker came up with a solution, but it delayed the close of escrow yet again.
This wouldn't have been that big of a deal, but the movers were loading the van with our stuff, and we were paying them by the hour. As I write this, it sounds like such a tiny thing. In that moment though, I thought I was going to have a nervous breakdown.
I think that in the history of moving, no one before us has ever told the movers to SLOW DOWN. We were in full panic mode. We had no keys and escrow hadn't yet closed on our new house. As the morning wore on, we worried that the movers would have to drop everything in the new driveway as they had a moving job for the next day. Out stuff had to come off that truck.
By early afternoon, everything that would fit was loaded, but we still had no keys. The movers grabbed a piece of driveway, and we all sat in near silence. I offered to buy everyone lunch, but the guys preferred to just hang out. To my surprise, they'd been through this plenty of times before. Apparently, many people have to wait on the keys.
A half hour later, we got the call that escrow had finally closed, and the house was ours. The movers got the van rolling, and we spent the next ten days unpacking, scheduling repairmen, and furnishing a house nearly three times the size of our old one.
We're not quite done and probably won't be for a while. We have several more repairmen coming out this week and furniture is being delivered. For now though, the boxes are unpacked and we're getting back to normal. On Saturday, I rode for the first time in two weeks. I am also looking forward to riding in another clinic with Christian Schacht in mid-November. Before that, we're going to the Breeders' Cup at Santa Anita.
We might look and feel a little travel weary, but I think I see the light at the end of the tunnel. It's good to be back.
It seems like my horses do this all the time. Hey! Are you still up there? Sorry, forgot about you for a minute.
This an old picture of Speedy from way back in 2009. When I first got him, that round dot on his muzzle quickly became known as his reset button. Speedy won't behave, hit the reset button! When he checks out, which isn't very often these days, I know I always have at least that trick up my sleeve.
I mentioned a week or so ago that I've been too busy to reply to comments or do much else besides go to work and squeeze in a ride now and then. It's not much of a reveal, so don't get too excited, but we just bought a new house. My horses moved a few months back, and now it's our turn.
We're leaving our very modest home of the past 11 years for something far grander and rather fancy. It's been a long process, and I still don't have a key in my hand, but that should happen in just a few hours.
Yep. That is a lake, although my husband calls it a pond. Since you can't boat or swim in it, he's probably right. You can fish from the shore though, and it's teeming with ducks and other birds. Our backyard opens right onto the lake with a gate so that we can walk the dogs and drive the ducks crazy. Or the dogs crazy. We're not sure who is going to win that one.
We actually placed an offer on a different house but after more than a week of hearing nothing from the seller, we moved on to this house. They weren't particularly quick to respond either. My husband finally groused that it was crazy that we had nearly half a million dollars to spend and nobody wanted our money!
So what have I been doing this past month? Well first, we sold our current home in six days. While that sounds fabulous, it put a ton of pressure on us to find something really fast. And it couldn't be just anything; it had to be something we loved. Once we found the house, we spent weeks dealing with inspections and repairs on both houses.
Over the weekend, we had to issue an ultimatum to the sellers when it seemed as though they'd changed their minds about selling. We were in full panic mode as everything was packed and the mover was hired. Ultimately, the sellers signed the last needed piece of paper and the move became a go.
In a few hours, after I sign one last piece of paper, I am heading out to see Speedy and Izzy. While there, I am definitely hitting Speedy's reset button in hopes that it works for me, too. So for now, I am checking in, but I need to check out for a bit. We won't have internet for a few days, but I hope to be back early next week.
Wish us luck, and I'll see you all in a few days!
I truly enjoy my C4 belts ... all four of them. I started with an orange strap and white buckle. I then moved on to a navy plaid with a navy buckle, a tan plaid with a black buckle, and then my favorite - the California flag with a chrome buckle.
The Sugar Skulls though really grabbed my attention. It's not listed on C4's site yet, but once it is, this belt is joining my collection. I like the black buckle, but I'll play around with their buckle/strap switching gizmo first to see if something else pops out.
After Sugar Skulls is in my hot little hands, the Underwater Dogs might find themselves added to my collection. The bugged-eye guy on the bottom just cracks me up!
Over the weekend I had another one of those moments where you realize your horse is not going to wake up tomorrow and be a schoolmaster for the blind. He's not even going to be a schoolmaster for a pro. He's just what he is, a youngish horse who is a bit hot and sassy and quite full of himself. He isn't going to be "easy," which is what I keep hoping I'll find when I get to the barn. And just like all young horses, he needs at least five more years before he's somewhat dependable to ride.
On Friday afternoon, I hopped up on Speedy bareback with nothing but a halter and a desire to have that easy ride. He gave it to me of course because that's what well broke 12 year olds do. As we ambled around the neighborhood, I realized that I've been waiting for Izzy to start behaving like a well-broke teenager. Well shoot, that's not going to happen.
Like I mentioned the other day, Izzy is an energetic horse that will simply need to be ridden for several more years until he slowly turns into that reliable teenager. That means I have about 4 or 5 more years to keep working on it. One day, I'll wake up and laugh about how many times I threatened to sale him.
For now, I just keep throwing learning experiences at him. Sometimes he behaves like you would expect, trembling in anxiety, certain that death is on his heels. Other times, like with the "tunnel of terror" pictured above, he drops his head, gives a bored sigh, and shows me his future well broke self.
Sometimes I find myself telling him in the most exasperated tone, "would you just start acting your age?" But of course, he already is. Come on, Birthday Number 9!
A week or two ago, Izzy pulled yet another shoe, so I decided to go barefoot all around. The hind feet have been shoeless for more than a year, but his front feet still needed shoes. When I first bought him, he came off a grass pasture so his his feet were pretty splayed out. The farrier has slowly roped in Izzy's pancake feet, and now they're nice and round.
When he pulled the right front for the second time in a week, I gave up. I rode him with one shoe until my farrier could come and pull the other front. He was never ouchy on either foot. I've ridden for more than a week on barefoot hooves, and he's been sound.
The farrier was out last night and cleaned up the previously shod hooves and then smoothed out his hinds. I was actually concerned about his back feet as they looked terrible. They were heavily chipped, but they look great today, so it must have been cosmetic chipping only.
Here's a quick look at Izzy trotting out on freshly trimmed feet. I am delighted that he's not at all tender footed. He's not exactly moving his best, but this was a cold trot out with no warm up.
Izzy was standing in uneven dirt when I took these photos, so the angles are all wonky. The right front still has nail holes because we had to reset that shoe so many times. I am delighted that he grew so much foot that there aren't still nail holes in the left front.
I wish I had thought to take photos of the hinds before the farrier trimmed them as they looked really bad. They had taken on a pointed shape, but that was only from above. From underneath they still looked round.
As long as he stays sound, I'm hoping to keep him barefoot. Speedy's been barefoot for more than a year. I hope it works for Izzy too. It's quicker for the farrier and a lot cheaper for me!
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%: