From Endurance to Dressage
I've got a bunch of little things to share that aren't enough to warrant their own blog posts, so I present 5 mini posts:
Speedy's eye has healed up quite nicely, although it took longer for the swelling to go down than I had thought it would. In all, it took almost two weeks to heal up completely. This photo was taken one week after he had banged it on something. I had just picked off the scab, but the swelling was almost entirely gone.
Izzy's wound is doing really great. After several applications of New Skin covered with two layers of loosely wrapped Vet Wrap, he is now going sans wrap. That wasn't my plan yet, but one day last week I forgot to wrap it when I left for the day.
I had been taking the bandage off when I arrived so that his leg would have several hours with no bandage. This was all done in an effort to reteach the leg's circulatory system to function without the pressure of a bandage. The last few times that I've removed the bandage too soon, the leg has filled, cracking the skin back open.
I am happy to report that when I showed up the next morning, the leg was clean and tight with no filling. I will admit that my heart skipped a few beats when I first saw it unwrapped, but apparently, the time was right.
I know it looks a bit fugly right now, but that's just the New Skin you're seeing. It looks and smells exactly like clear nail polish, and it's super sticky. I am not sure how long it takes to wear off, but I've pretty much left it alone other than running a brush over it to knock off any flaking skin or dried on "stuff." We might finally be getting to the end ...
Since I wrote this ... Izzy scraped the wound, but it's just minor. Sheesh!
I detest dealing with my horses' manes. Tails I can do, manes I hate. Izzy's mane is particularly unruly because it won't stay on one side, and it's really thick. I hate pulling, and I don't think he's a fan of it either. I used the scissors.
Yes, I can see that it looks like crap, but I don't care. At least it's half as short as it was. Judge me if you'd like, but then come over and fix it. I like the taste of humble pie, and I'll even pay you to serve it up.
I am not sure if you've heard the news, but it has started raining in California! It rained "so much" that I opted NOT to ride in the arena on Tuesday. It probably would have been okay, but it was an "Izzy Day" which means that things could have gotten wild and crazy, and I didn't want to tear up the footing.
It rained the night I dismantled my dressage court, but since it has been so dry, the footing was actually perfect the next day. I rode both horses and found that riding without the dressage court in place might be a good thing for a while.
With Izzy, I had a lot more room to "fix" the canter before running into the fence. It's also easier for him to canter a 30-meter circle and then spiral down to 20-meters and even 15-meters. The same is true for Speedy. With so much room, I can leg yield as long as I need to before I feel it's good enough to change the bend and go the other way.
Normally, I can only water the area that is my dressage court, but since the rain is doing the whole space, I can now ride anywhere I want, dust free. It will also keep the footing from getting tore up by riding in a larger space.
Come on El Niño - let it rain, let it rain, let it rain!
It's been at least a month since Izzy has been ridden out of the arena. Since the footing was questionable on Tuesday, I opted for a neighborhood hack. He was so good, mostly. The first obstacle is that little hill with the puddle in front of it that has given us trouble - no problem. And the puddle was even gigantic thanks to the rain.
He stepped into it without even hesitating. Once he was was in, he stopped, looked down, looked around, and then climbed up the hill without another thought.
The second real obstacle is passing by our barn. Nothing. He stopped to poop (very loosely), but then he walked on. Most days I have to get after him with the whip. Nope.
The third obstacle is the stretch of dirt road behind Laurel's property. This was the only place he got naughty. He jigged, flung his head. danced, pranced, and basically acted like an idiot. I just kept changing the bend and pushing him up to the contact. I thought passage the whole time. Not that he did, but if he wanted to be a jerk, I figured he could work hard.
Once we turned the corner, the tension started leaking out, and he relaxed much sooner than he usually does. I was so pleased with how much progress he has made over the past couple of months.
So much is in the little things, isn't it? If I wait around for BIG changes, I'll always be disappointed. It's important to be grateful for all of the little battles we win.
My Five Things - small on their own, but put together, they show definite progress!
Speedy G, Izzy, and I would like to wish you all a very
And to our friends around the world:
ਕਰਿਸਮ ਤੇ ਨਵਾੰ ਸਾਲ ਖੁਸ਼ਿਯਾੰਵਾਲਾ ਹੋਵੇ
Nollaig Shona Dhuit
عيد ميلاد مجيد
During this Christmas season, may you enjoy the message of hope, love, and peace on Earth. May all of these holiday blessings be yours to keep. Here’s to wishing you a Merry Christmas.
As much as I brag on how well behaved Speedy G is, he does have naughty moments, even naughty days. Wednesday was one of those, but it wasn't 100% his fault. You see, California has been experiencing some old weather patterns that haven't been seen in a while, namely a North Wind and all its spooky friends.
We haven't had much of a winter over the past four years, so I can see how Speedy might have forgotten what cold and wet look like. Wednesday dawned damp and dreary, but then an arctic blast from the north arrived, and it sent the dander up on both of my horses.
Apparently, a north wind is the answer to my riding just on the edge of out of control problem. I tried to start my ride with a suppling walk exercise, but Speedy bolted so many times within the first five minutes that I realized nothing was getting supple. Rather than fight with him, I ran my stirrups up and slipped off his bridle.
Speedy is a great free-lunger, so I simply stood in the middle as he galloped around me. After a few minutes of bucking and farting one direction, I pointed my whip to suggest a change of direction and sent him the other way. When it seemed as though he could concentrate at least a little bit, I called him over and put his bridle back on.
I spent the next thirty minutes riding a rocket ship, but boy was it fun. I didn't have to ask for forward, I simply had to focus on channeling it. Since he wanted to dive into my hands and force me to carry him, I was able to use his natural impulsion to lift his front end by half halting like crazy.
We did tons of ten-meter circles and half circles, leg yields, shoulder in, haunches in, transitions within the gait, and counter canter circles. We also schooled the walk to canter transition, which he's doing pretty well, and kept hammering away at the canter to walk transition. He doesn't get the point to that at all.
Chemaine was right, forward fixes so many things. While a slow-poke feels safer to ride, it's hard to get any decent work done. Riding a lunatic is not for the faint of heart, but if you can hang on, it's a lot of fun!
Mudgrips - white-tip
Well, I don't have a cigar sticking out of my face, and my smirk probably isn't that obnoxious, but the rest of it probably describes Blue Truck pretty well.
It's been a while since I've done a Blue Truck update. BT's still going strong, but I'll admit that I still keep wishing and hoping for a newer version. Until I win the lottery, BT will have to do.
To keep Blue Truck in tip top shape, I do bi-annual "spa" visits, one in June and the other in December. This particular visit took two days and generated more of a bill than usual.
Day One included a visit to Big O Tires for wiper blades, a tire rotation, and new brake pads and rotors. I don't know how often you've had to replace your pads and rotors, but I've had BT so long that this is the second time I've had to have that particular job done. The last time was ten years ago. Total cost for wiper blades, brake pads, and rotors: $518.47
I brought BT home for the night so that I could tackle the rest of the maintenance the next morning. Before it got dark though, I dragged out the shop vac and a hot bucket of water and gave the inside a thorough scrub and vacuum. The next morning, Day Two, we went through the car wash. Total cost for cleaning/vacuuming at home and exterior car wash: $6.00
Filling up with gas is not only super expensive, it's a big tank and BT uses gas like nobody's business - a dismal 8 mpg, but most neighborhood stations aren't equipped to handle a truck and trailer combo. Since I leave the truck parked at the barn (usually already hooked up), I tend to get gas out on the highway at one of the larger stations when I leave for a show. This means that I always pay at least thirty cents more per gallon. Since I was trailer-free for the weekend, I squeezed BT into the corner station and filled up for only $2.30 a gallon! Total cost to fill up: $49.61
After filling up BT's tank, I drove over to my favorite oil change place and got that taken care of as well. The guys at Branson Express Lube are always super fast, thorough, and very honest. They never sell me services that BT doesn't need, but I can trust them to tell me what does need to get done. for this trip, I got lucky. All BT needed was the oil change. Total cost: $46.61
I really love having my own truck and trailer, and frankly, I couldn't go back to depending on someone else to haul me around - mostly because there isn't a "someone else." So while maintenance on a vehicle that isn't my daily driver adds up, it's worth the price, especially since I don't have a car payment.
So what did Blue Truck cost me this month? A tidy little $620.69. Less than a truck payment, but enough for a show. Good thing there aren't a lot of December shows!
How did you spend your December show budget?
I've written before about the awesome GMO that I am lucky to belong to - the California Dressage Society. It's a great organization that is completely rider focused. And even better, CDS recognizes that adult ammies and Junior/Young Riders are an integral part of the sport of dressage and works hard to provide ways for us to be acknowledged.
Just yesterday, I received an email from CDS introducing the newest Rider Award, and oh boy, am I super psyched about it.
CDS is calling it the Gem Rider Award. You can see the requirements above, but the very best thing about the award is that it is retroactive!!!! The second cool thing about the award is that I am already two thirds of the way to earning the first one, the Ruby Rider Award. Oh, sweet Jesus, I can barely contain myself.
Since this is a CDS Award program, the scores need only be earned at CDS-rated shows, not necessarily at USDF shows. I've mentioned this before, but most CDS shows are also USDF-rated, but my local chapter of CDS, Tehachapi Mountain Chapter, hosts a four-show summer series that is only CDS-rated. Since it's not a USDF show, the judging is usually a tiny bit more generous than at a USDF-rated show.
This is going to provide a great opportunity for the riders in my area to earn scores for their Gem Rider Awards. Like I said, oh, heck yeah! I am so all over this award. Now I am even more motivated to get mine and Speedy's butts up to Second Level. We've got a lot of work to do this winter!
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%: