From Endurance to Dressage
Nether of my horses got much work this week. They both felt pretty puny after Monday's visit with the vet. Speedy felt worse on the day immediately after his vaccinations, but it took Sydney three days to finally feel the effects. I feel kind of bad about it because I didn't really notice until I was all saddled up.
I checked on them on Tuesday afternoon. Sydney actually looked almost normal, maybe a bit stiff, and Speedy was clearly feeling off his game. He hadn't eaten breakfast and his head was hanging low. He wanted some attention though, so I took both out onto the grass for some hand grazing.
I tossed Speedy's lead rope over his back and let him wander at will. He nibbled consistently at the green grass as he meandered around the yard. I kept Sydney's lead rope in hand as he is not as confident being out in the yard without his girl.
I returned both boys to their stalls and fed them their regular beet pulp/rice bran mash which they hoovered up with no hesitation. Work and life kept me away from the barn on Wednesday, but I knew another day off would do them both good. When I drove up on Thursday, Speedy was his regular, perky self. In fact he kept up a non-stop whicker as I puttered around cleaning stalls and setting up the sprinklers. Sydney seemed fine as well as he began eating the flake of hay that I tossed him.
Since Speedy was making so much noise, I decided to ride him first. Now that he has been cleared to return to work, I need to decide how to make that transition. I didn't want to ride for long, but I wanted to make the ride count so I decided to move up to the bridle rather than continue in the riding halter. I am so glad I did.
We had an unbelievable ride. He was much more responsive to my leg and weight aids and far less resistant to the bit than he's ever been. We kept it at a walk, but I asked for all kinds of lateral movement and bend. His marching walk has improved tremendously! I was actually laughing out loud in total delight at the work he gave me.
I saddled Sydney next. He stood quietly like he always does and was a gentleman while I mounted. There was nothing unusual until I asked him to walk on. He felt kind of stuck. I asked again and quickly realized that my big, brown horse wasn't feeling so well. I probably should have just hoped off, but I decided that some simple movement might help alleviate some of the stiffness.
I spent 10 to 15 minutes just asking for some stretch at the walk. I asked him to stretch his neck down and then carefully asked him to flex his neck in different directions. I never asked for more forward, just some movement. When I put him away, he seemed like himself, just lethargic. As I preparing to leave for the day, both boys called out eagerly for their beet pulp/rice bran.
A very usual storm arrived on Friday. You probably already know that California's Central Valley is in the midst of a severe drought (it has only rained a few times this winter) so even the suggestion that it might rain sends us into a celebratory mood. I was eager for the rain, but not interested in having my recently vaccinated boys out in the wind and sprinkles. I had a dinner date with Hubby instead of visiting the barn.
Today is Saturday. The rain is supposed to pass this morning which means I should get to ride both boys later this afternoon. I know Speedy is rarin' to go, but I'll have to wait and see how Sydney feels. By the way, the vet called back about Sydney's blood work. He had a mid-range titer which means it is safe to vaccinate him for Strangles. Once school is out, I'll have to drive him back over to Bakersfield Vet Hospital to get that done.
Here's to perfect arena footing thanks to some much needed rain!
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%: