From Endurance to Dressage
I feel a little sorry for Izzy. Every time I write about his shenanigans, the one thing he can't change gets blasted: his genetic make up. If he tries to bolt or duck out from under me, people are quick to say oh, that's the thoroughbred in him. If he throws a fit about getting to work, I hear those warmbloods, they're opinionated.
When Speedy was getting started under saddle, no one ever lambasted his genes. And oddly enough, Arabs have a pretty bad reputation in the horse world. In most folk's eyes, they rate right down there with Shetland ponies and chestnut mares.
In fact, of all the horses that I've owned (at least 10), Speedy has injured me more than any other. He was a terrible three, four, and five year old, and he wasn't all that great at six either. But not once did anyone ever tell me it was because he was an Arab.
Izzy on the other hand can't fart without someone pinning it on his ancestors. I get that people love/hate their chosen breeds, but I don't really subscribe to the breed bias thing. Don't misunderstand. There are certainly characteristics, both physical and mental, that certain breeds might demonstrate more often than other breeds, but I don't think that we should be so quick to spread the "breed blanket" over every horse. If I had subscribed to the all Arabs are crazy notion, I would have missed out on a heap of adventures.
I like Izzy. He's a fun horse that doesn't scare me. There are moments when I think Oh, crap!, but he has shown me that he has a brain and doesn't want to hurt himself. While he was started as a youngster (60 days of training), his first owner only put a few rides on him before he sat around for two years. I pretty much had to restart him this spring.
With that said, he's been working under saddle consistently for only 6 months. I think the guy is allowed to be a jerk, at least some of the time. So far, he's moving along a lot faster than Speedy did. Speedy tried to buck me off every single time I got on him. And he did get me off; so hard in fact that it took nearly six months before I wasn't riding with a a knot of terror in my stomach.
Arabian ... Thoroughbred ... Warmblood ... Quarter Horse ... they're all the same to me. They each have their strengths and weakness as breeds and more importantly, as individuals within the breed. I'd rather take each horse as he comes and see what I've got. Consistent training can fix a whole lot of things while low expectations can bring you just what you asked for.
What do 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%: