From Endurance to Dressage
Sorry for Friday's radio silence. We were one of the many victims of the recent power outages. I am not sure how wide spread the news was, but it was all Californians were talking about last week. PG&E, Pacific Gas and Electric, and SCE, Southern California Edison, provide all of our state's electricity. You don't get to choose which one you'd prefer. They each have their service areas, and you get what you get.
A year or so ago, some of PG&E's electrical hardware was struck by heavy winds which caused a massive wildfire that completely leveled the town of Paradise. In a state that lives in perpetual drought, we don't need any help starting wildfires. So this year, in an effort to prevent another catastrophe, PG&E and SCE both cut power to more than a million homes last week because of high winds. Our house was just one of more than 800,000 homes affected.
I am not going to say we were grateful to PG&E, it was kind of a pain in the butt (we were forced to toss quite a bit from our refrigerator), but we get it. A friend of mine who lives in southern California had to evacuate her family over the weekend when a wildfire threatened their home. They had a reason to complain. We didn't
We coped with the inconvenience for a day and a half, and we cheered when the lights came back on. Oh, and my favorite topic of discussion, the apocalypse, got discussed a lot. Sometimes, I think life would be a lot simpler if all we had to worry about was finding food and fending off whatever apocalyptical disease/creature that mankind has let loose. Jobs, credit cards, and health insurance be damned.
With Californians making up a full 12% of the USA's population, we have just a shade under 40 million people, the rest of the world either sees the state as a crown jewel or a perpetual hot mess. For those that are undecided, I thought I'd share a few facts with you to show you that California is a state like ... well, like none other.
Much to the consternation of California's conservative Central Valley, our state is overwhelmingly Democratic. Kevin McCarthy (R), our US Representative to Congress, has served as House Majority leader but is currently the House Minority Leader. He's from Bakersfield.
California is the third largest state after Alaska and Texas. With a length of 770 miles and a width of 250 miles, crossing the state means climbing over one mountain range, zipping across the central valley only to cross a second mountain range. It's at least a 6 hour drive. Top to bottom is going to take you a very long day. The most I've done at one time is Chico to San Diego, 596 miles.
California has the highest point in the contiguous US and the lowest point in all of North America. And surprisingly, those two points are less than 85 miles from each other.
While California is only the third largest state by area, by population we have the rest of you beat. At 39,747,267 people we have 10,000,000 more people than Texas - the second highest populated state, and a whopping 18,000,000 more than Florida - the third highest populated state. By density, we're only ranked 11th which means more people will fit, but we're good for now, thank you.
I recently wrote a post about needing to reevaluate my horses' feed. I wrote that each horse gets 2-3 flakes of grass or alfalfa daily. There was some shock that I fed my horses so "little." As it turns out, a flake in California is not the same as a flake in other parts of the country. There was also some real concern about how horses live in California.
The truth is, we have every single type of living arrangement you can picture: box stalls, dry paddocks, sandy pastures, and grass pasture - irrigated or dry. In more densely populated areas like Los Angeles, you'll see a combination of box stalls and dry paddocks. In more rural areas, of which we have plenty, you'll see grass pastures, both green and brown. My boys live in large, sandy paddocks. They're big enough to run and play in, but not big enough to flat out gallop.
One advantage to having our horses in generally dry living arrangements is that hooves in California tend to look neat and tidy. You rarely see a horse with crumbly feet. Wet pastures, which much of the rest of the country has, provide lots of grass, but they can also be hard on feet. Another thing we don't see a lot of are weird, creepy bugs and flies. Sure we have fly season, but they don't torment the horses to the point that they have to live indoors.
To help you all visualize a California hay bale, here are what our bales look like. Both the grass and alfalfa bales weigh well over a hundred pounds each. I cannot pick up an alfalfa bale. To load one in my trailer for a show, I've been known to slide one onto a large piece of cardboard so that I could drag it to my trailer. Then I use every ounce of strength to stand it up on one end and shove it into the horse compartment where it travels against the inside wall of the trailer.
So there you have it. California. In many ways, she truly is a hot mess, but on the other hand, it's one of the most beautiful places you'll ever see. Food's not bad either.
If you ever want to come for a visit, just send me a message. We'll make you feel right at home.
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%: