From Endurance to Dressage
I mean that both literally and figuratively.
But first, I would really like to give a huge thank you to all of you for your amazing support and kindness yesterday. I was feeling about as useless as possible. It's tough to know you've "failed" and not know how to fix it. I read your comments throughout the day and each one encouraged me to keep on trying to find a solution as the end result would be worth the effort. So, thank you!
I can't stand to be someplace unhappy, like how I was feeling on Sunday and Monday, so I started looking for a solution. I came up with a three pronged approach. The first two phases require some faith and a bit of finger crossing, while the third is a much more nuts and bolts approach. So far, one day later, Phase 1 and 3 are working well.
Phase 1: This plan of attack won't appeal to the majority of you, but I know a few of you will get where I am going. First, let me say that I am not an overly religious person in that I don't go to church on Sundays, but I do have a solid sense of what the Divine means to me. I understand God to be a permanent presence in my life whether I adhere to any formal religion or not. Sort of like gravity. You don't think about it's force acting on you, but it does.
So without getting too metaphysical on you, I decided that this issue needed some prayer. And when I say prayer, I don't mean the Dear Santa would you give me a relaxed horse at a show kind of prayer. I mean the kind where I say, help me see the harmony that already exists. I know that there is no "lapse from nor return to harmony." This means that the perfect ride is already there for me to see and feel; I just need to be receptive to it. Just turning my thoughts in this direction had the immediate effect of lifting the burden of guilt and worry from my shoulders. Whew. Now we can get to work!
Phase 2: Get some kind of pharmacological assistance. And I mean for the horse, but it probably should be for me, too. Since I am not into drugging my horse, nor myself for that matter, my options are limited. I had Sydney on a SmartPak calmer pellet for over a year, and I know it didn't do any good. Some people swear by certain calming products, but in my experience, if it's not FDA approved, most supplements just create really expensive poop.
Even so, I figured there might be something that might help. A few years ago, I tried a product by Performance Equine called Focus Equine. I felt like it did help the mare I was riding, but its efficacy seemed to fade over time so I quit using it.
Performance Equine says this about Focus Equine:
An Excellent choice for horses that are: Busy Minded ~ Hot ~ Worried ~ Hyper-Sensitive to noise and new places~ Easily Distracted ~Spooky ~ Unpredictable ~ Tense ~ Excitable~ Soured
Sounds too good to be true, huh?
I ordered the 7 day serving size for $19.99. It is not a product that needs to be given every single day. The suggested use for Focus Equine is to help calm a horse for shows and events. So if it helps Sydney, I could simply give it the week before a show. That's a supplement that I am willing to try. It will arrive in plenty of time for the show on August 25th. I'll let you know how I think it works.
And finally, Phase 3: Get some coaching in a new venue. Well, duh! Right? What I wanted to find out was two things: is it the show that makes Sydney nervous, is it simply being at a new venue that brings out the anxiety? I put it to the test.
I don't have many trainers to choose from in my area, and nobody is close, aside from my current trainer. Tehachapi, a town about an hour away offers several trainers. It's a long drive, especially since it's in the mountains, but I needed some help so I made a few calls.
Lois Quinn and her husband put on four, CDS-rated shows each summer. At each show I've attended (at least 14), they've been kind and encouraging. I decided that Lois was the trainer I wanted to try. She has a lovely dressage court at her home, so we set up a lesson for Tuesday morning at 11:00.
I hate to do this to you, but this is getting a bit long. If you'll come back tomorrow, I'll tell you how the lesson went, and more importantly, what I learned.
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%: