From Endurance to Dressage
That's a big name for such a little guy. But if you're bound for greatness, then I guess you better have a strong name.
Imperioso's grandsire, Ideal, is quite famous. He's one of only ten Oldenburg Stallions to have a 4-Star rating (only four have a 5-Star rating). A stars is awarded for success in each of five areas: Conformation, 100-Day Test, Sport Test, Foal Evaluation, and Success of Off-Spring. Ideal is an approved stallion for both Oldenburgs and the Rheinland-Pfalz-Saar-International (RPSI) registry.
Imperioso's sire, Inbegriff, took his 100-day test for the Oldenburg registry, but was injured at the very end and was not accepted as an approved Oldenbug stallion. But because of his excellent performance during the test, he was accepted by the RPSI registry.
Banjo Rose, Imperioso's dam, is a Thoroughbred by breeding, but she scored quite high with the International Sporthorse Registry and has been entered in the Main Mare Book of the ISR/Oldenburg registry.
Imperioso is a Zweibrücker, which is a horse registered with the RPSI even though he has Oldenburg descended/approved parents. Learning about the warmblood registries is now on my list of things to know. From what I can tell, the registries are more interested in improving their horses as opposed to keeping bloodlines pure (as the Arabians do). I do not know if that makes Imperioso a German Warmblood or not. He was born here, but he is registered with a German registry. Does anyone know?
Imperioso's Pferdepass (passport) is quite detailed and thick. So while the RSPI registry is located in Germany, there is an American affiliate that can take care of ownership changes.
So who is this Imperioso anyway? Well, in case you haven't figured it out yet, he's my new dressage horse! There is a story here, of course, but I'll tell it in a day or so.
Since the show season is officially over, for me anyway, it's time to start preparing for next season.
I haven't even started looking at which shows I'll attend, mostly because I need to get this new horse thing situated first. On that note, I am actively searching and emailing sellers about prospects. I rode an American Warmblood (TB x Morgan cross) the other day and rode a Zweibrucker (Ideal grandson) yesterday. More on all of that as I have something to report.
The point is that until I know how much I am spending on a new horse, I don't want to commit to any big shows. That doesn't mean I can't get organized though. I still have my memberships to pay for this weekend, but the next project is to get my show binder in order.
From the very first show I did back in the summer of 2010, I had a show folder. Even that was too much space for what I put in it - a day sheet. I never thought I'd have enough show stuff to fill a folder, much less an entire binder! Who knew?
The front of my binder carries my three Whinny Widgets, which can now be tossed. I've ordered the new First Level book, but it's not here yet. I also keep all of my membership cards in an envelope in the same pocket.
I keep five tabs in my binder ...
If you've been a reader for at least a few weeks, you know that I had to part ways with the big, brown OTTB. I sure liked that guy, and I learned a whole lot by riding him, but we had finally reached the place where the job was just not fun together.
That means I am on the search for a second horse. I know most of you wonder what's wrong with having just Speedy G. My husband is asking me the same thing. The answer is that while I adore my gray pony, he's just not enough to fill me up. I need two horses to satisfy that itch.
I have a very rewarding job, thanks to a recent move, and I am very fulfilled in my married life. But right now, the third part of who I am is not complete. I physically need a second horse.
I wish I was content with work, husband, and one horse. And maybe in time, I could grow to appreciate just having Speedy G. It would sure take a lot less time and money. But at this moment, I can hardly think of anything other than completing my little horse family.
But. I am being patient. I want it to be the right horse. Not that I can guarantee that of course, but I am going to try and find an equine partner that is suited to do the work I want to do. I've been scouring the online ads, trying to narrow my focus. JL gave me some great advice the other day when I brought her an ad for a purebred Arabian gelding doing lower level dressage work.
Her response was, "But that's what you already have. You need something different."
She was right. That prompted me to sit down and create a list of what I want and need. For the most part, I am pretty un-choosy (is that even a word?) when it comes to horses. I can usually grow to love them all. If they have four legs and are sound, I'm in, but that kind of lackadaisical thinking isn't going to result in a top-notch dressage partner.
There are tons and tons of brilliant dressage horses out there. And most of them would fit into my plans just perfectly. Unfortunately, nearly all of them are way, way out of my budget. And therein lies the rub.
We're not broke, poor, or struggling, and the reason we don't live month to month is because we're careful, very careful. We prioritize, plan, and frequently go without. We save, invest, plan for retirement, and carefully monitor where our money goes.
My truck is 14 years old; my car is approaching 10. I don't go shopping for clothes, jewelry, or shoes unless I need something. We could certainly save more for our retirement, like the $20,000 a year I spend on the horses, but we realize that a well-balanced life should be lived every day, not just after retirement. So, we travel, we keep a cabin, and I ride and show.
Our life also can't be about only me, even though more often than not my husband is persuaded/dragged to join my individual journey. If I spend too much on the horses, which are for me alone, it robs him of that balanced life we strive so hard to create. If I spend $20,000 on a horse, he doesn't get to enjoy that trip to Portugal or go to the Breeders' Cup or spend a weekend in Las Vegas. And those are all things that I enjoy doing with him. It wouldn't be fair to deprive him of those opportunities just so I can ride a nicer horse.
So as I determine my budget for this new horse, I have to make sure that I leave myself enough to cover any unforeseen problems. My elderly car or truck might break down, Speedy might get sick, or our twenty-three year old dryer might decide to stop drying. I also need to make sure I have enough to pay for that trip to Portugal that we're taking in June.
In short, could I come up with $10,000 or $20,000 to buy a new dressage horse? Yes. Do I want to? No. What I want is a horse that fits into the financial life-style that we lead which is one that celebrates moderation in all things. Especially all things equine.
I am having so much fun with Speedy now that we are "officially" focused on First Level. My gray pony may not have the big, expressive movement that the warmbloods have, but he sure is fun to ride.
At our lesson on Monday night, my trainer asked what it was that I wanted to work on. It's a little weird telling the teacher what you need, but JL has been a great supporter of my dressage efforts. She recognizes that my path is different from that of her jumping students so she tries to help me with the directives that each level presents.
Now that we're over the most rudimentary basics, meaning we can walk, trot, and canter with some semblance of a frame, she is leaving it to me to let her know what comes next. I reported that I felt comfortable with how we're doing with the 10-meter half circles and the leg yields. Our weak spot at the moment is the canter departure. We also need to slow down the canter so that Speedy can get off of his forehand.
JL had me pick up a trot, which by the way is getting really good. She instructed me to think about really slowing down his front end as I asked for the canter. At the same time, I need to be really strong in my back so that as he tries to shoot forward into the canter, I can resist the lengthening of his spine. I need to gently slide the rein (rock, sponge, whatever) to encourage him to lift up. And, I need to continue to slide (rock, sponge) as Speedy goes through the whole upward arc of the canter.
I tend to to want to throw his neck away as soon as he begins the upward phase of the canter. To help him go up, I need to stay with him all the way through the up and down wave of motion. That was a huge revelation. I only stay with him as he begins the liftoff, but then I let go as he arcs across the top.
Once I maintained the contact by being very resistant in my back, Speedy stayed round and less strung out. The result was a better canter that was uphill as opposed to the runaway wheelbarrow effect that we sometimes get.
I had a doctor's appointment on Tuesday morning which meant I got to be at the barn by noon instead of working. Riding in the middle of the week with no worries about the fading daylight reminded me of all that I have to be thankful for.
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%