From Endurance to Dressage
The ranch where my two boys live is not a public boarding facility. It's a small ranch owned by two geologists, one of whom happens to be as horse crazy as the rest of us. Over the past two decades she has invited a few different friends to board their horses with her. Usually, they stay a short while and then move on; I've stuck around. I've been at the ranch for more than six years now, and before that, I was at a property across the street for five years. This neighborhood has been home for a long while.
Not much happens at the ranch, but when it does, it's big news. There is another woman who keeps her mare at the ranch. She also rides one of the ranch mares. Last year, she hurt her knee pretty seriously which kept her out of the saddle all summer. As she has slowly gotten back to riding, she realized that she needed a bigger mounting block; one she could also use for dismounting. Her husband listened to what she wanted, built it for her, and finally delivered it last week.
Since we both happened to be at the barn at the same time - that rarely happens, she saddled up Sarah, and I threw my riding halter on Speedy. I haven't been on Speedy in a few months, so he was particularly happy to see that halter. Deb climbed aboard Sarah, and then I took my turn with her new mounting block. For everyday schooling rides, I get on at the arena with our 3-step, polyethylene block, but Deb likes to get on down by the tack room. For trail riding, this mounting block is awesome because it's the perfect height for swinging a leg over bareback Speedy.
All of our horses are quite well broke, but for somebody fractious or prone to shenanigans, I would probably stick to a solid-sided mounting block as a spooky horse could easily stick a leg through the open sides of this mounting block. But for Deb's mare and even Speedy, this mounting block works great.
It had been quite some time since my last ride around the neighborhood, so Deb showed me a new gate to avoid as well as a corner of the neighborhood that I hadn't felt we had permission to ride in. She gets out more than I do and discovered that riding in the nearby orchard is fine with the owner. He's the gentleman who owns the old golf course where I like to let Izzy gallop when he needs to let off some steam.
We circled the golf course and then rode through the cherry orchard. We came out near the river so we walked down to peer down through the water. As we rode along the edge of the river bank, a flock of Canada Geese stayed just in front of us. Neither of us wanted to rush them, but as they don't waddle as fast as the horses walk, we knew that eventually they would take flight. They did of course, but only half of them. Speedy spooked to the left, but I managed to squeeze tight and hang on. I was riding bareback with only a halter, so there was a lot of laughing. Of course, just as I got re-seated, the second half of the honkers flew out into the river which sent Speedy spooking to the left again. I laughed harder the second time and still managed to keep my seat.
The week off I enjoyed last week lent itself to doing things just for the fun of it - first, riding Izzy in a western saddle at CC's cattle ranch and later, hacking bareback with a friend. I didn't ride with a learning intention in mind, and Speedy got to enjoy 30 minutes with a buddy.
I didn't realize how much I needed to get out of the dressage court.
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%: