From Endurance to Dressage
Now that Izzy is starting to feel show ready, I've been thinking about what I "need" to finish off our look(s). My helmet and show coat are navy. I have two shirts that I prefer over all the others; one is white/navy and the other is white/burgundy.
I really like showing in a crisp, white pad, so I probably won't need to add a new show pad as I have more than several. Other than that, there are a few other things that I want to complete each "show look" for Izzy. First, the noise canceling bonnet that I ordered finally arrived. It's navy, so it will work on the days that I show in my navy coat, helmet, and shirt. I'll use a white pad which completes that ensemble.
With our summer heat, it's pretty common for coats to be waived both days of a two-day show. The navy shirt will work fine with the helmet and bonnet, but the burgundy shirt, not so much. Now I need to round out a second outfit for the days when I were that shirt.
For the second "look," I want my accessories to be black as trying to find matching burgundies would not be easy. First, I want another LeMieux noise cancelling bonnet, but this time in black. This bonnet will also work with the black LeMieux Merino+ Dressage Square Half Lined Saddle Pad that I already bought for schooling the night before a show and also while at clinics.
The next thing I want is a black Ovation Glitz Helmet. I love this helmet. The S/M fits me perfectly, and the price is ridiculously reasonable for a helmet this pretty. I already have two - the navy version for showing and one I use for everyday. My schooling Ovation Glitz is just way too dusty and dirty to bring to a show.
If I am creating a wish list, there's one more bonnet I want. I have a serviceable black bonnet that I've been using to help Izzy acclimate to wearing one. It works, but now I want one in navy to match the brand new navy LeMieux ProSport Cotton Square Dressage Saddle Pad that I just bought for everyday use. While I would love a second LeMieux bonnet, the basic model without the noise cancelling liner is still really expensive. There are cheaper options like this Equine Couture Fly Bonnet.
My birthday is just around the corner, and I sometimes get a little cash to spend. If not, I'll just start checking things off the list one by one. I think the black bonnet would be first followed by the new helmet. That means the just for fun schooling bonnet would probably be last.
Well, unless I need it to meet the minimum price for "free" shipping. Gets us every time, doesn't it?
A Dressage Horse?
I've been saying this for six years: I finally have a dressage horse, but this time, I really mean it. Not only is Izzy looking like the warmblood he was bred to be, he feels like it, too. The day after Christmas, my friend Wendy and I met up at Symphony Dressage Stables to have lessons with owner and trainer, Chemaine Hurtado.
Like the lesson before, I didn't ask for anything specific. I just wanted Chemaine to offer me some feedback on how to improve the connection, bend, straightness, and so on. Her suggestions were ...
There was not a single bad moment. He never spooked, and there were plenty of reasons to be naughty. It was bitterly cold, the goat was crying, the dogs were zipping around, and the wind was gusting. He never put a foot wrong or said no.
As I watched the video and pressed pause to capture still photos, I was able to use virtually any screenshot I wanted. He never looked hollow or braced or resistant, and the feeling he gave me during the ride was even better. While I look quite determined in most of the photos, inside, I was grinning ear to ear.
My fingers are crossed that we come out of winter show ready and finally able to earn some decent scores.
I Have a USDF Bronze Medal
Last week, I started seeing posts on Facebook of rider's receiving their USDF awards for 2020. I knew my Bronze medal must be imminent. I was right. On Thursday evening a little package from Kentucky was sitting in my mailbox. My husband knows how much I've been waiting for this day, so he kindly stood at the counter with me as I eagerly opened the package.
I expected the package to be smallish, but I was a little worried about how small it was, and once I opened the larger envelope to reveal an even smaller bundle, I grew a bit more concerned. Was it even in there?
When I peeled off the congratulatory note and opened the bubble wrap, a very small, plastic case rested in my hand. I stared at it for a moment, and then said huh. My husband peeked over my shoulder, looked at me, and raised his eyebrows in a look that duplicated my own. It was not at all what I was expecting a BRONZE MEDAL to look like. Where was the neck ribbon?
I opened the plastic box thinking that the ribbon was somehow folded beneath the medal itself. Nope. I flipped the medal over and saw that not only does it not come with a multicolored neck ribbon, it's actually just a pin. Like the lapel pin I already bought and affixed to my show coat.
I actually laughed. I spent ten years and many tens of thousands of dollars for this? When I told the story to my trainer and good friend Wendy, they both laughed as well, and at one point, Wendy quipped, It's like what you get out of a gumball machine. For two quarters do you get a silver? I laughed so hard that if I'd have had a Coke, it would have come out my nose.
I could stand here and say I wasn't expecting much, but I'd be lying. I pretty much anticipated my medal looking a lot like an Olympic medal. I wanted a fancy ribbon, and I wanted to be able to take that see if it's real bite.
Ultimately, the petite size of the medal doesn't diminish the pride I feel in having earned it. Even if Speedy can't wear it around his neck for a photo op, I am still immensely proud to be one of fewer than 10,000 riders to have ever earned one. That I did it with my endurance-turned-dressage Arabian makes me even more proud.
At least now when I get my Silver medal, I'll know what to expect!
It started November 7. That was the first day of that crazy, hot mess of a show that Izzy and I did in Santa Barbara. The one where my propane tank broke free of its anchor, wedged itself beneath my horse trailer, and was then dragged at 60 miles an hour for the next hundred miles. That's when Izzy's tummy troubles began.
This is what I wrote about about his tummy when I recapped the whole weekend: Early the next morning, I went out to feed him, but he didn't look very good. Even though it was quite cold and windy, his flanks were sweaty, and he had virtually no gut sounds on his left side. He looked as though he were beginning to colic. I hastily called my friend Jen who was driving up to the show to serve as groom. She works at a vet hospital. I ran his symptoms by her and she thought he might just have an ulcer-y tummy. She agreed to bring some UlcerGard and Banamine. In the meantime, I started walking him.
By the time Jen arrived, a little after 9:00 a.m., it was clear he wasn't colicky, but his tummy was upset. We gave him some UlcerGard, and then we headed up to the show office to complete a Medical Report Form.
I gave Izzy the UlcerGard on Saturday and Sunday. By the time we got home, all seemed well. Over the next few weeks though he started to get sensitive to both touch and grooming around his left flank. He would threaten to kick at his own belly like horses do when the flies are bad, or at me.
The weekend after the show, I wondered if he hadn't developed a bit of "scratches" on that part of his belly. It happened to our endurance horses in the winter which is why we frequently kept their bellies clipped. When dense winter hair gets heavily sweated without time to dry out, the skin gets really irritated. A cheap and easy solution is to clip the long belly/flank hair and douse the skin and coat with vinegar.
When Izzy's belly was still sensitive a few days after the show, I did the vinegar wash, and he seemed to improve a little. And then he didn't. He continued to be off and on sensitive to grooming, but only on the left side. On Thanksgiving morning, his tummy was really upset, and it was clear that he was in the very early stages of colic. I called my vet, and together, we created a treatment plan. I gave Izzy a dose of Banamine and then because it made my vet feel better, I gave him SandRid psyllium pellets for the next two weeks. Izzy recovered quickly, but the sensitivity when grooming continued.
During a recent lesson, Chemaine Hurtado, owner and trainer at Symphony Dressage Stables, noticed that Izzy was short on his left hind. I explained the intermittent left side tummy trouble that Izzy has had over the past six weeks. We did some stretching exercises, and the shortness of stride disappeared. With no heat, swelling, or obvious reason for the short stride, I decided to treat the skin on his flank one more time, and if that didn't help, I planned to call the chiropractor first, vet afterwards. That afternoon, I clipped Izzy's belly and scrubbed the area clean with Betadine and then doused him with vinegar.
The next morning, Izzy was better, but some sensitivity was still there. I called the chiropractor. I explained that I didn't know if this was a body work thing, a skin thing, or a vet thing. CC is a true horseman with decades of experience. He has never been wrong when diagnosing one of my horses, and he ALWAYS tells me when I need to call the vet. I trust his advice implicitly. He asked a few questions, and then he suggested ulcers. Doh! Why didn't I think of that? That diagnosis fits the progression of symptoms perfectly.
I promptly ordered 4 tubes, but since they won't be here until the end of the month - shipping is crazy right now, I ran out to Bakersfield Large Animal Hospital last week and picked up two tubes to get Izzy started. While I was there I had the chance to talk to Dr. Tolley who agreed with the diagnosis - Izzy is likely suffering from an ulcer.
Dr. Tolley thought a two week course of UlcerGard was an appropriate treatment, and if I want to maximize the UlcerGard's effect, it would be best to give on an empty stomach. I gave Izzy the fourth dose yesterday after riding. If I can't be out there before feeding time, dosing him after a late morning ride at least gives his stomach a chance to rid itself of some hay. Since we try to keep hay in front of him twenty-four hours a day, there really isn't a time that his tummy is actually empty.
While I've treated Izzy for ulcers in the past, this is the first time that I've actually seen symptoms that support the treatment. Hopefully this round will eliminate the touchiness and get him feeling better.
My Five Things - Winter?
We're officially into winter here in the northern hemisphere, but somebody forgot to tell California. For those of us in the Central Valley, we're enjoying a very lovely (and lengthy) autumn.
#1 - Fall Colors at the Ranch
#2 Rainless November - Fingers Crossed for December
It's been so dry that I left five bags of feed in Newt's bed overnight without worrying about them getting rained on. I felt like tempting Fate was worth the risk of a soaking, especially if it had rained.
#3 Hairy Horses
Since I don't blanket my horses - we're lucky if we get six inches of rain a year, they get pretty hairy about now. I finally dragged out my clippers to trim up both boys' bridle paths. I only intended to do Izzy's, but then Speedy strolled past, so I asked if he wouldn't mind standing still for just a moment. You know your horse is broke when you can trim his bridle path without the use of a lead rope.
#4 Cold and Foggy Mornings
On Sunday, I dismantled the dressage court so that Reggie could both get rid of the huge collection of leaves that had accumulated along the poles of the dressage court and smooth out the enormous groove that had developed along the rail. Yesterday, the ranch owner and I set it back up. The fog was so dense when we started that it was difficult to see from A to C. By the time I saddled up an hour and a half later, the sun was brilliant and warm, but that's California for you. Nothing but blue skies.
#5 A Fall Colored Horse
Izzy's ever changing coat is well known. He's almost a buckskin in summer, nearly black in early fall, but by winter, he's the color of autumn.
These first few days of my Christmas break have been sorely needed. I wish everyone could take a few days to just let the mind and body rest without worrying about the world and its troubles. While we are eager that "this" too shall pass, I try to remember that there continue to be beautiful moments happening all around me if I just remember to look up and see them.
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%: