From Endurance to Dressage
I am going back to work today. Well, I was there yesterday but only to set up my dismantled office. Five laptops, an extra screen, a small clock, iPad, a document camera, a web camera, a handful of mice, two surge protectors, and a USB hub all require a schematic, an engineer, and a technology team. None of which I did or had, of course, but it's done and ready for this morning.
On Tuesday evening, I stripped down my home office. Earlier in the year I had had the brilliant idea of using a silver Sharpie to label each device's electrical cord. I am so grateful I did because over the course of the year I've added more and more devices, and once you start unplugging stuff, it can be really hard to remember which plugs and cords go with which device.
Last week I took most of my teacher's editions and any other books that I wouldn't need for this week back to school. Yesterday morning, I loaded all of the laptops and gadgets into a rolling crate and the rest of my books and supplies went in another crate. All of that went to school yesterday.
I am certainly glad to have my office back. I can now quit doing my banking and blogging at the kitchen counter. I've spent so much time in my office teaching that anytime I could get away from the cameras, I took it. My dogs aren't going to be very happy about my return to school, and I am certainly going to miss my "mullet" attire - school shirt on top, yoga pants and slippers on the bottom. It's time though. Kids need to be back in school.
I am not particularly happy about the revised school schedule though, and I fear that California's governor is going to drag this thing out indefinitely. California has no exit plan. No strategy for living mask free. Our elected leaders don't really want a future free of fear and isolation. They say they do, but there is no plan to make that happen.
In the beginning, we were asked to help "flatten the curve." Do our part to "save lives." Instead of two weeks, Californians have spent an entire year living ever more isolated lives. Many have been forced out of their jobs. Kids are only just now returning to school, more than a year after the "two-week" shutdown.
In Kern County, there have been a mere 658 resident deaths out of a population of over 900,000 people. Of those deaths, 67% were 65 and older, a population whose continued life expectancy is already low under normal circumstances. We already know that those elderly patients who died during this pandemic were already dealing with serious health complications. There is a strong likelihood that they would have succumbed to their illnesses even without COVID-19.
As I asked more than a year ago, was all of this worth it? I think you already know how I feel.
Back to the future ... ten of my students will come to school from 8:00 - 11:00, four days a week. The other twenty-one will continue with distance learning from 12:00 - 3:00 on those same fours days. On Wednesdays, all thirty-one of my students will log in for one hour as we do a quick reading lesson. They will have the rest of the day to work independently. Since I have no preparation periods or office hours during the day, the students' independent day is the day I've been given to lesson plan, grade work, build my online links, and work with my grade level team.
When I asked my students to do a Jamboard showing me how they feel about returning to school (here's mine), some were excited, but most were worried, discouraged, and lonely. They want to be back in school on a regular schedule. They want recess, lunch, assemblies, and the opportunity to actually walk in and out of a library. They want to interact face to face with their peers and me. While I am so angry on behalf of all of those Americans who have lost their jobs, it is kids who I think have suffered the most. My heart breaks for all that they've missed out on or simply lost.
I am hoping that when mid-August rolls around, we can truly get back to a normal future.
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%: