From Endurance to Dressage
Even though we got home from Portugal on Saturday afternoon, I didn't make it to the barn until Sunday, and I was pretty proud of myself for making it. I almost always get sick when we fly for such a long period. For this trip, I made a few changes to help myself through the jet lag.
I think both boys appreciated my efforts. They were happy to see me (mostly), but since my BFF had been to see them at least every other day while I was gone, they looked fabulous and none the worse for wear. Even so, it was nice to get them back on my routine.
Speedy was a teensy bit cold backed when I hopped on, but after a minute or two of walking on the buckle, he relaxed and got right to work. I kept his first day under saddle short and sweet with mostly long and low work. Since then, I've asked for more each day, so we're pretty much back to the regular program.
Izzy took a bit longer. When I saddled him on Sunday, he humped up his back and acted as though he'd never felt a saddle before. He looked so tight through his back and hind end that I opted to just lunge him rather than ride. I also called the chiropractor.
The next day, I lunged him and then rode for less than ten minutes. His back was tight, tight, tight. After riding, I turned him out where he bucked and galloped and ran around like a crazy man. The chiropractor came out later that afternoon.
As I suspected, Izzy was sore and "out" all over his body. The chiropractor didn't find anything to be worried about, just regular body soreness. Izzy has never been adjusted, so it was time. I gave him two grams of bute that night, and per the chiropractor's recommendation, he got the next day off with one gram of bute.
The day off was good timing as the farrier came out on Tuesday. I may have mentioned this some time ago, but I have a new farrier who I really, really like. He's local which means that he can be at my barn within just a day or two, which is what happened for this visit. He knew I'd be on vacation, so he told me to call when I got back home. He came out two days later.
I also love his crew. He has a regular apprentice (?), but for this visit there was a second guy doing a ride along. Between the three of them, they had both of my horses done within an hour. They were somehow ultra efficient without acting rushed. The horses were relaxed and seemed to enjoy all of the attention.
When Izzy got his first set of shoes under my ownership (his second set ever), I was told that he was terrible and eventually had to be sedated. He's now been shod four or five times since I've had him, and he is now a piece of cake to shoe. My farrier was pleased with his behavior and even happier about how Izzy's feet are shaping up.
If you'll remember, while being barefoot, his feet had pancaked quite a bit and needed to be brought back in and up. Paul had saved an earlier set of shoes that Izzy had worn and compared them to where he is right now. It took three or four months, but Izzy's feet are now nice and round without the pancake-like ovals he had been sporting.
If you've been following for any length of time, you know that Speedy has gone through some intermittent foot soreness over the past year. I took him to Alamo Pintado, a premier equine veterinary center here in California, and got a could be this or could be that diagnosis. I gave Speedy time off, but ten months later the soreness returned.
My regular vet felt that it was a shoeing issue and sent me to the vet hospital's preferred farrier for some corrective work. That shoe job kept Speedy sound for the next six weeks, but after being re-shod, he came up lame yet again. I had Paul pull the front shoes with the plan that we would leave him barefoot until I came back from Portugal.
After being barefoot for only a few days, Speedy was completely sound. I started to ride again and even took him to a show. When Paul looked at his feet on Tuesday, he was thrilled with how well they held up to being barefoot. He pulled the hind shoes, gave Speedy a nice trim, and pronounced him good to go.
I am not a barefoot-only proponent, I love the convenience and durability of a shod hoof, but I am willing to do whatever it takes to keep my horses sound and comfortable. For now, Speedy is going to stay barefoot. We'll see if he can make it through our hot and dry summer with enough foot to be able to work. Paul felt like there was a good amount of growth over the past four weeks, so this should work out.
It feels great to be back on schedule. I love traveling, but I love being at home too.
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 Second Level. 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%
2021 Show Season
(r) Ride-a-Test Clinic
(Q) Must Qualify
2021 Pending …
6/26-27 SCEC (***)
7/17-18 El Sueño (***)
8/14-15 RAAC (Q) (***)
2021 Completed …
10/24-25 SCEC (***)
11/7-11/8 SB (***)
4/10-11 SCEC (***)
5/16-17 El Sueño (***)
2021 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
2nd Level Qualifying
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%:
Score 1: 60.610% Bhathal
2nd Level Qualifying
5 Scores/4 Judges/61%:
Stuff I Read