From Endurance to Dressage
Is That Broken?
Raise your hand if you've had your foot stomped on by a horse, any horse. I see you. Raise your hand if you've lost toenails from said foot stomping. I see you, too. Raise your hand if your pedicurist gives you an odd look every time they strip your old nail polish because your toenail is either half gone or because your nail bed is still purple eight months later. You, too? Sucks, doesn't it?
Over the weekend, my husband was grumbling about sore feet. He made me look at his "swollen" and discolored toes. I laughed about it and told him that with age comes some wear and tear. I kicked off my slippers to show him how purple my toenails are. One in particular. As I lined up both feet to compare one to the other, I shrieked in horror! One of my toes, especially the one on the right foot, the foot that Izzy stomped on several times this past summer and fall, was protruding at an odd angle.
Last summer and fall, Izzy stomped on my foot several times over a few months. One hit was so hard that the right side of my foot was numb for many months. For most of the fall, my foot was swollen and of course black and blue. It hurt like hell each time he did it. I never bothered to go to the doctor because I could still move my toes. And besides, what could the doctor do for a toe?
Now, as I compare my left foot to the right, it is quite obvious that that middle toe is NQR - not quite right. To prove to my husband that we all have things wrong with our feet, I gave my bent toes a big wiggle and said, see? No big deal. The next morning, my right foot was sore and aching. Sheesh!
Now that I have looked more closely at the right foot, I am inclined to admit that that toe, or even more than the single toe, has been broken. Maybe more than once. Maybe more than twice.
You know, I think I am due for a pedicure!
I try really hard to keep abreast of every USEF rule change because occasionally, one of them will actually apply to me. As an example, not too long ago, the rule regarding the baucher bit was changed. That's the bit that Speedy used before the double bridle, but it's the bit that he went back to in his semi-retirement. I haven't measured the hanging cheek piece to see if it falls within the legal limit because it doesn't matter now that he's not showing anymore.
The new rule that caught my eye was DR122.i. Beginning February 1st, your horse can now stop to pee or poop before you begin the test if the bell has already rung. I have had quite a few OMG hurry up! moments as one of my horses stopped to poop. It has always been after our first centerline though.
When I show, I always pass by the judge and scribe to bid them good day as well as report my number and which test I will be riding. I did that one time, and in that moment that I halted Speedy to greet the judge, he took that opportunity to stop, spread his hind legs wide, and leg go of the longest pee that he could muster. I think he even threw in a few grunts and extra squirts just for good measure. I was so embarrassed. And in that instance, the judge and scribe were seated on a low platform just barely off the ground. That meant they sat in front of his pee spot for the rest of the day; gross!
Both Speedy and Izzy have stopped in a test to poop. I wish the rule extended to include the time in the dressage court. Because really, what are you going to do? At this point in Izzy's life, he doesn't give a flying duck if I kick him on while he's pooping. He'll just stand there grunting at my kicks as he does his business. I can't say I blame him. I like to stop while I poop, too.
Pooping while moving is a difficult business; so is peeing.
Coats Are Waived
After getting both Speedy and Izzy blanketed and prepared for Friday night's massive storm, I slept well knowing both boys were warm and safe.
I texted the ranch owner to let her know my boys were blanketed and added that I was worried whether Izzy would keep his on or not.
She called the next morning while she was feeding to say that both horses were still dressed but that all of the paddocks had a lot of water. I told her I'd be coming out a few hours later to pull blankets.
I got to the ranch at about noon. From my truck, I first noticed the newly formed lakes everywhere, and then I saw that Izzy's blanket had been pulled already. I didn't see it hanging anywhere which made me wonder where it might be.
Oh my garbanzo beans; you big jerk! I waded out to the far side of the paddock to see if the blanket was salvageable. Izzy waded in after me.
I stared at Izzy's BRAND NEW blanket as it laying shivering in the mud.
It's a waterproof blanket, but only if the outside is on the outside. It had rained again between the time I spoke with the ranch owner and the time I made it out there. Izzy must have gotten it off shortly after our chat.
It was so heavy that I could barely heave it over the fence. Since it was already soaking wet, I sprayed it off so that it would dry cleanly. Miraculously, it was all in one piece. Mostly.
I know who won't be wearing a coat for the rest of the winter.
All Dressed Up
When it comes to the Great Blanket Debate, I fall right in the middle. Some horses need to be blanketed, some don't. And frankly, it's none of my business if you choose to blanket your horse or not. Why anyone cares about someone else's blanketed horse is beyond me. I can only think of one exception: years ago, when I kept my horses at boarding barn, there was a woman who kept a nylon sheet on her horse in the dead of summer because she thought by forcing him to sweat, it would keep her horse "cooler." Every day, I would pull the sheet off the poor, sweat-soaked horse and rinse the crusted salt off the sheet. I would hang it dry, fold it, and put it away for her. The next day, the sheet would be back on the horse. Holy hell.
Besides that one instance, I pay no mind to what another horse is wearing. As I drove out to the barn on Friday afternoon, I decided it was time for blankets. Our local meteorologist was predicting a storm unlike anything we've seen in at least a generation. Not only were we going to get inundated with record rainfall, but the temperature was predicted to drop to near freezing with howling wind. Both of my boys have a roof, but nothing to block the wind.
That's usually not a problem as we rarely get the perfect storm of wet, windy, and low temperatures. Two of the them yes, but never all three at once. If it's wet, it's usually in the 50s. If it's blowing, again warmer temperatures. If it's freezing, it's almost guaranteed to be calm and still. My horses aren't clipped, so they stay plenty warm throughout the winter.
With such severe weather on the way, I knew my boys would appreciate being warm. It was the first time that Izzy has worn a blanket in at least two years, maybe three. Speedy wore his maybe once last winter. It had been so long that Izzy had worn a blanket that I couldn't even remember what it looked like. I keep both winter blankets in a storage bag. When I pulled Izzy's out, it still had the tags on it. He tore his last one up with his teeth, so this one is the replacement.
While I blanketed, I checked the weather repeatedly. The wind was gusting, but It was still 60 degrees. My weather app kept insisting the rain was coming, but it was a hard call to make. For Izzy, standing around in a full winter blanket in 60 degree temperature would have been uncomfortable for him. I trust our meteorologist though, so the blankets stayed on. Late that night, I heard the rain and was happy I had decided to blanket.
Our annual rainfall hovers right around six inches per year. On Friday night, we received over two inches in about eight hours. Besides being wet, it was also cold enough for some parts of town to see a light dusting of snow. When I got up the next morning and saw how much it had rained, I was grateful that I had thought to put their blanket on. Izzy hated wearing it, but I know that deep down he appreciated it.
Getting it on him took some trust rebuilding as he was pretty sure I was trying to do something nefarious. Once he realized that there was a game involved he stood rock solid as I adjusted the buckles and straps. Once the blanket was on, it was game on! These selfies are hilarious. Check out how our expressions are nearly matched. LOL
Maybe I ought to blanket more often. It was a load of fun!
It Ruins My Braids!
Let's start the week off with a hilarious PSA. Yes, it's an ad campaign aimed at those who don't like wearing helmets because they're perceived as uncomfortable, uncool, or unmanly, but it's funny whether you wear a helmet or not. It's funny if you like viking stories, funny if you think (some) men are idiots, and it's especially funny if you know that it's women who really run the show (said with a wink).
For what it's worth; wear a helmet. If not for your own head, then do it for the person who will have to change your diaper when you're paralyzed from the neck down. With that said, thanks goes out to the FB friend who shared this over the weekend, and how funny is this video?
Pretty damn funny!
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%: