From Endurance to Dressage
I don't know what I'll do if Izzy's chiropractor retires before I quit riding. That man is a miracle worker. And unlike some of the chiropractors that I've used in the past, he is a very knowledgeable horseman besides. He knows horses. He knows what they're thinking, how they react, and what we should do to establish the best possible relationship with them.
As I was riding on Wednesday, I found myself asking that tell-tale question, What is wrong with you? I rarely ask that question anymore because I am riding better, my feel has improved, and I can usually tell when Izzy is sore even before he knows it himself. Ever since I came back from Croatia, Izzy just hasn't been right. He's been a little reserved, but I chalked that up to me being gone for more than two weeks. He has been a little lame, but I attributed that to the rock I saw him step on in the round pen. He's also been a bit over-reactive to nothing which is why I finally asked what was wrong with him.
That question is my cue that it's not a training issue. When I sense that I am riding a Mr. Jekyll, I know Izzy's sore. I finished my ride sooner than planned and texted CC. He came out on Friday, and within minutes, Izzy's face lost the pinched look he had been wearing for the past two weeks. In fact, as CC paused in his ministrations to tell me about his recent trip to Australia (he judges reining/cutting events), Izzy kept giving those little pay attention to me nickers. And not just once or twice. He kept at it until CC finally got back to work.
I always try to figure out where Izzy is most sore, but anymore, it's usually the C7, poll, and rib heads. For this go round,Izzy just wouldn't lift his back, and I had a lot of trouble convincing him to wrap around my leg, especially to the right. I thought ribs and poll here the most likely culprits, but CC diagnosed the C7 as the root of all the problems. Figures. As soon as CC gets that to move, Izzy becomes really friendly and playful. Note the grabbing of the lead rope.
For the first time in a long time, CC recommended I give Izzy the next day off. That was surprising, but he felt that given Izzy's lack of condition and level of fatness, he needed a day to recover. I was understandably offended. Fat? How rude! (Just kidding!) No one has ever thought Izzy to be overly rotund. In fact, it was only this spring that my vet finally labeled Izzy a 5 on the Henneke Body Condition Scoring System. Izzy has historically tended toward the leaner side of things. After removing my rose-colored glasses and remembering that I have been girthing up one hole lower than normal, I had to admit that the Big Brown Horse is looking a bit portly.
Now that he feels better, I should probably reduce his portion of beet pulp and rice bran from a King Kong serving to something I can actually carry without groaning as I schlepp it to his feeder. Now that I think about it, even my mom looked aghast when she saw how much Izzy was getting compared to Speedy's polite serving. I would love to get the BIG brown horse on the scale. He was 1,410 pounds this spring. He might break it if he were to get on it now.
Horses. Never a dull day.
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%: