From Endurance to Dressage
I am a pretty eclectic reader, but from time to time I will find myself stuck on one particular genre or even a specific time period. A year or so ago, all I read was stuff from the early to mid-twentieth century.
During the summer, I usually read heavier material or books that are longer. Over the past two summers, I read Ken Follet's Pillars of the Earth and World Without End. I am waiting for Column of Fire to show up as one of Amazon's Daily Kindle Deals. During the school year, when I can barely get through ten pages before falling asleep, I tend to choose shorter titles that are easier to get through.
A few weeks ago, I had just finished something really good, although I can't remember now what it was. I knew that the next thing I chose to read had to be light and fluffy, or I would be disappointed. Whenever I read something really good, the next title is almost always a disappointment. So I scrolled through my list of unread titles looking for something that was just mind-candy, something meant to entertain, not change your life. I landed on Catherine Ryan Hyde's novel, Just After Midnight. If you feel like you've heard Hyde's name before, you probably have. She's the author of a long list of titles including, Pay it Forward.
Just After Midnight isn't "literature." It doesn't have a message that compels you to look deep within yourself. Instead, it's a settle in for some fun kind of story that would float any horse girl's boat. Here's the summary from Amazon.
No longer tolerating her husband’s borderline abuse, Faith escapes to her parents’ California beach house to plan her next move. She never dreamed her new chapter would involve befriending Sarah, a fourteen-year-old on the run from her father and reeling from her mother’s sudden and suspicious death.
While Sarah’s grandmother scrambles to get custody, Faith is charged with spiriting the girl away on a journey that will restore her hope: Sarah implores Faith to take her to Falkner’s Midnight Sun, the prized black mare that her father sold out from under her. Sarah shares an unbreakable bond with Midnight and can’t bear to be apart from her. Throughout the sweltering summer, as they follow Midnight from show to show, Sarah comes to terms with what she witnessed on the terrible night her mother died.
But the journey is far from over. Faith must learn the value of trusting her instincts—and realize that the key to her future, and Sarah’s, is in her hands.
I know, I know. Sounds pretty cheesy. But. The whole thing is set in Central California's dressage world. Over and over Hyde incorporates actual towns and cities where dressage truly exists. She evens sets her characters in real life venues where I've shown. She mentions Moorpark, Paso Robles, Morro Bay, and many other places that are practically in my backyard.
Throughout the story, Hyde explains what dressage is as her characters go from one training barn to another. As an experienced rider, you might find yourself rolling your eyes at her very simplified explanations, but the point is to help non-riders feel connected to the characters and their actions.
If you find yourself looking for something to distract you for a few hours, this book might be just the ticket. It's not going to change your world view, but really, sometimes that's a relief. If you read it, let me know what you think!
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%: