From Endurance to Dressage
My Facebook memories reminded me that eight years ago yesterday, Izzy joined my family. I actually think I might have paid half of his purchase price the day before and then the rest the next day when I went and picked him up. Either way, I still forgot about it until Facebook reminded me. I always remember that he joined my family near Thanksgiving, but I always forget the exact date.
In some ways, actually, in a LOT of ways, my journey with Izzy has been quite disappointing. I was certain that he was going to outpace Speedy and quickly earn me all sorts of awards. We'd sail past First Level in that first year and quickly conquer Second. Third would be a bit of a challenge, but before I knew it, we'd be schooling Fourth. HAHA. What I was smoking? Nope. No. Hard no. Laughing Hysterically as I shout NO. None of that happened. Not even the First Level Part.
It's hard to remain disappointed as I look back at all that I have learned because of this horse. And even though none of it happened on Izzy, I did win all of the things including a USDF Bronze Medal. I just did it on the horse that I thought couldn't do it. The horse who is well bred, just not specifically for this sport. So while I haven't managed to be successful on Izzy, Speedy showed me how much fun showing (and winning) could be.
It's not like Izzy and I haven't done things; it's just that we haven't necessarily done them well. Feeling nostalgic, I decided went back and looked at some of the things we have done:
There's a lot this horse can do. If I ever want to go somewhere, I never give pause. Sure! I'll bring Izzy is my usual response. I don't always have complete confidence that he'll keep his hamsters on their wheel, but so far, we've never died or been maimed or even been kicked out. I often wonder what things would have been like had I bought the other horse - a petite warmblood that I looked at before deciding she wasn't right for me. She might have come up lame, she might have been boring, she might have hated working with me. You just don't know what might have been. And frankly, I don't want to know.
Regret is a wasted emotion. There are a lot of things that I wish I had done differently in my life, but when the what ifs rear their head, I quickly remind myself that it is the totality of my experiences that have placed me where I am today. Had one decision been different, I might not have had horses at all. For better or worse, blue ribbons or no ribbons, Izzy and I are a team.
I choose to celebrate his "gotcha day" with gladness that we met.
#1 - I caught Izzy napping the other morning. It doesn't happen often, but when it does, he's happy to let me sit beside him. I never catch Speedy napping. I have no photos of him laying down. Big brown horse has a mind of his own though, so if he's napping, I have to wait.
#2 - It matters not one whit, but I noticed that this little space is still on the list of the 60 Best Dressage Blogs and Websites to follow in 2022. We've been there for a while, but we're now number 8. That matters very little as some of the blogs listed are no longer even active. But still, it's a thing.
#3 - Something that matters even less is that we decorated for Christmas over the weekend. What makes that of any interest at all is that it's hard to do when it's 79 degrees - in November! Yes, you read that correctly; it was 79 degrees on Thanksgiving Day. Ho ho holy hell, it's hot!
#4 - Over the weekend I received an Advent Calendar filled with 24 samples of Effol products. I couldn't wait a month to see what was inside each little door, so I ripped open the box and emptied out all of the goodies. I can't wait to try them all!
#5 - Least important of all, Izzy stopped on my right foot for the third time in six months, twice in two weeks. When I got my pedicure last week, there was still a black spot at the base of one of my toenails that I couldn't see under the black nail polish I had chosen for October. You can see it now. Oh my gosh but does this version of a foot stomping really hurt. My foot still hasn't healed from summer's foot stomping. Two hours after Izzy stomped on it this time, it had already begun changing colors. Mother forklift!
So there you have it: five things that make up daily life. I think it's important to stop and recognize that life is filled with both big and small things. It's easy to get caught up in the next thing and the next and the next without stopping to be in the here and now. Being present is something I work on every day.
Even when it hurts!
The one thing I HATE about Black Friday sales is that they don't last long enough. Everything I want has to be bought TODAY, but I won't have that kind of spending money until AFTER Christmas. Be that as it may, it doesn't stop me from looking. If I had that money TODAY, here's what I'd buy.
#1 New River Boots
Mine are still good, but they are starting to look a wee bit shabby. I don't wear them to the barn; I bought them for doing morning yard duty at school. I also wear them on the weekend when we go anywhere cold - sporting events, fire pit dinners, and so on. This pair is even cheaper than the first pair I bought. Sale ends today though.
#2 New Dressage Pad
I already have this pad, and while it's not quite as nice as the Le Mieux pads, it's also cheaper. It's also very serviceable, and at this lower price, it wouldn't make me feel at all bad about getting it dirty. Besides, for the past year or more, I have been washing and rotating my pads regularly. This means they are staying cleaner, but some of them are looking pretty rough around the edges. It's time to rotate in a new pad or two.
#3 A New Helmet
It's not like I don't have plenty of helmets, but each one serves a purpose. I keep three show helmets - black, navy, and maroon. I use the black one for Friday's warm-up ride, the navy one pairs with Saturday's navy coat which leaves the maroon helmet and coat for Sunday's rides. The one I need to replace is my everyday schooling helmet. It's getting pretty gross, but helmets are expensive. However, if I had some extra cash, this is what I might spend it on.
If wishes were horses and all that jazz ... What's on your list?
I swear that I am not a fashionista. I swear that I am not a clotheshorse despite what the evidence might suggest. What I am is a deal shopper. Finding quality clothing at ridiculously low prices is my super power. I am not a name brand shopper, not that I won't wear name brands, but if I can find the same thing at a substantially lower price, I am all in.
So what's my new favorite? 32 Degrees. If you like base layers, soft fabrics, and low prices, this company is for you. I read quite a few reviews before placing my first order, and it sounds like this might be a brand that is found at Costco, but as I am not a Costco shopper, someone else will need to weigh in to confirm that. Either way, I am hooked on their winter stuff. I am hoping their warm weather gear is just as nice.
So far, I've purchased three different items, and I have more on the way. The first thing I bought was the Poly-Fill Packable Vest. This thing is amazing.
Besides the vest, I also bought the Rib Base Layer in Grisaille - a steel blue color.
Finally, I also bought the lightweight Crew Top in black.
I have also ordered two pairs of leggings: this one and this one, along with a second vest, this time in Moonlight Ocean. My school's colors are blue and gray, so this will look cute on Fridays when I wear a school t-shirt and leggings. The chili pepper and pumpkin spice colors are calling my name though. How cute would those be with a pair of jeans and river boots?
I know there are tons of Black Friday sales going on - including this one at Riding Warehouse, but I am trying not to participate. Let me know what you find!
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%: