From Endurance to Dressage
I really wanted to do one of those super cute Christmas pics of Speedy wearing a festive hat with pine boughs woven through his mane ...
Didn't happen. For a variety of reasons. The first of which is that I don't own a festive hat nor do I have the time to gather pine boughs and weave them through his mane. Instead of that, I clipped a crinkled red ribbon to his mane and then spent the next fifteen minutes trying to convince him that there were NO COOKIES in my pockets so please STAY OVER THERE!
Here is the result. Click photos to enlarge.
I started The Eighty-Dollar Champion on Saturday and read over half of it in one afternoon. It's that good.
There is a quote at the very start of the book that spoke to me so directly that I knew I was led to this book for a reason.
So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then, when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable.
- Christopher Reeve.
Thank you Mr. Reeve for summing up my dressage experience. I often times feel as though this journey into dressage is happening by the sheer force of my will. None of it has come easily. None of it has just happened. It takes a concerted effort each and every day to make the next step a reality. This quote will now follow Lilo Fore's as a reminder to myself to press on.
I finished Elizabeth Letts's book last night. If you're not familiar with the title, it's a biography of Snowman, a horse who was rescued from the killers, and Harry de Leyer, who not only bought him off the slaughterhouse truck, but who then trained him to be a champion show jumper. It's a horse story, but at the same time it is a re-telling of America's history during the 1950s.
There is no dressage element to the book, but the story of how Harry scrapes up enough money for schooling shows and then for the rated shows all in effort to create a champion that he actually owned will resonate with every amateur out there. Most of us can't afford a $50,000 horse and a full-time trainer. Neither could Harry. Instead, he bought discarded horses and trained them himself. Harry's "discount" journey will ring very true to most horse owners whether they're show jumpers or not.
As I read the book, Harry's relationship with Snowman reminded me so much of my own gray pony. Like Snowman, Speedy loves the attention of strangers, particularly from kids. While Speedy will probably never be a National Champion, I still love him and value him as a member of my family as Harry valued Snowman. I think many of us have, or have had, our own Eighty-Dollar Champions - even if they never actually earned the blue ribbon to say so.
Banner beneath the theater's portico
On Sunday, a friend and I made the drive to Los Angeles to see the stage version of War Horse at the Ahmanson Theater.
I knew I would like it, but I didn't know how much I'd like it. It was really terrific. I'll admit that it started out a bit slow, and I was feeling a bit nervous as I was the one who talked Janet into going with me. I didn't want her to feel as though her money had been wasted.
I shouldn't have worried, within no time, adult Joey bust out of the blackness to a rousing applause from the audience. From that moment on, I was literally captivated by the show.
If you've already seen it, you already know how effective the simple set and special effects were. The simplicity of the stage literally set my imagination on fire. The main backdrop is a torn piece of parchment paper. What they were able to do with that one shred of paper was amazing. If you haven't yet seen War Horse, I don't want to spoil it for you.
Both Janet and I were in awe of the horses. They were so life-like that when they froze with the rest of the performers, I wondered at how they were able to keep the horses so still. There were some very dark moments with the horses that were a bit creepy: the way the horses died, the carcasses left to rot, and the ghost horses who have not yet left this world, but who are very nearly gone.
If you do go and see the stage performance and you've read the book or seen the movie, ditch those images and enjoy this adaptation of the story. No, it doesn't follow the book exactly, but that's okay. Enjoy the interpretation that this playwright chose to present.
To see some really interesting footage of Joey, visit this link. Be sure to watch the Adaptation link. The most interesting link can be found here. It's a great video showing how the puppets are built. Fascinating ...
We went to a matinee showing, so there was plenty of daylight to admire the views from the theater's plaza. Click to enlarge images.
Not at all what I planned to blog about today, but I am so excited that it just can't wait. I am finally going to see the stage version of War Horse!
Hubby and I were in London last summer and took the Tube all the way to the theater fully prepared to purchase our tickets and watch the performance. I was beyond crushed to see the sold out sign. We were only in London for two nights so there wasn't an opportunity to catch it the next day.
But now I get to go. It's playing in Los Angeles as I write! Check here to see if it's coming to a city near you. I am going with a non-horsey, but theater loving friend. We've purchased tickets for Sunday, July 15th. I promise to let you know how much I enjoyed it.
First of all, thank goodness it's Friday! That means Saturday and Sunday are fast approaching.
It's not often that my work and equine worlds collide in a good way. It's usually a collision wherein my horse world comes out beaten and bruised. Although last summer when my head and face met up with the arena pole, it was my work life that was the one sporting the black eye, literally!
But I am getting off topic. The point of this post was to share a good collision. On Thursday morning, one of my students shyly handed me a drawing she and her dad had done the night before. I oohed and ahhed appropriately and promised to hang her work at the barn. And I did. That very day. Here are the pictures of her artwork.
Have a great 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 Second Level. 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%
2021 Show Season
(r) Ride-a-Test Clinic
(Q) Must Qualify
2021 Pending …
8/7-8 SCEC (***)
10/30-31 SCEC (***)
2021 Completed …
10/24-25 SCEC (***)
11/7-11/8 SB (***)
4/10-11 SCEC (***)
5/16-17 El Sueño (***)
6/26-27 SCEC (***)
7/17-18 El Sueño (***)
2021 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
2nd Level Qualifying
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%:
Score 1: 60.610% Bhathal
2nd Level Qualifying
5 Scores/4 Judges/61%:
Stuff I Read