From Endurance to Dressage
Sheesh. I think I need to lighten things up a bit. This past few weeks, all of my posts have been so serious. I know I am pretty hard on myself, and I do have high expectations, but taking oneself too seriously can lead to a whole mess of trouble. If there is one thing that I don't need, it's more trouble. With that, my vet thinks Izzy has a fat butt.
The thing with doing a fall show is that it requires a second round of USEF's required vaccinations. With a shorter show season, I could get away with just spring shots, but with the every six month rule, Izzy (or Speedy) always needs that second shot in the fall so that we can go to an October show. In mid-summer, I mapped out the rest of my 2021 show schedule and planned for a mid-October trip to the vet. The problem was that with school being back in session and me being so busy, I woke up on Saturday and realized that we were past mid-October and Izzy still hadn't seen the vet.
After my lesson on Saturday morning, I called Bakersfield Large Animal Hospital and asked if there was any way I could get in that morning. As great as the staff there is, they can't conjure up an appointment time if all spots are accounted for. I took the next option that would work for me, Monday at 4:30. It made for a long day - I get to work at 6:00 a.m., but it was necessary.
Since Dr. Gonzalez hadn't returned from his field call, I hung out for a bit with the ladies in the office. They're a hilarious bunch, so I never mind waiting for one of the doctors to be finished. Once Dr. G was ready to see us, I met him over at the scale to see how Izzy's weight was holding. While Izzy will ultimately do what I ask, it took a few tugs on the lead rope to get him to step up on the scale. Once he had settled into place, Dr. G called out Izzy's weight: 1,360 pounds, ten pounds more than in the spring.
When I asked Izzy to step off the scale, he cocked a hip and sighed. Nope. Feeling pretty good right here, thanks. I tugged. I pulled him sideways. I tugged harder. Finally, Dr. G asked if he could just vaccinate Izzy while on the scale. Yep. He's obviously not going anywhere. Dr. G poked Izzy in the thigh. No reaction. We all rolled our eyes. When Dr. G had finished with the injection, I gave Izzy another tug, and this time, I really leaned into it.
GET. OFF. THE. SCALE.
Nope, no thanks, don't bother, I am good.
I am not exaggerating. Izzy simply wouldn't get off the scale. He didn't act nervous, he wasn't stressed, he just wanted to take in the moment and look around. Finally, after I really started to insist, he stepped off with both front legs, but he left his hind end behind. Dr. G walked back over to the scale and read aloud in amazement, "His hind end weighs 580 pounds!"
That's a pretty big butt!
It has been a long week, but it seems as though they're all long. On Wednesday, it felt like Thursday all day, so today somehow feels like Monday. I am all messed up! I did ride a few days this week though. On Monday, we had horribly high winds that caused hazardous blowing dust. Our air quality hit 500 which is nearly as high as the gauge goes. I didn't ride that day.
I did ride on Tuesday and Wednesday, but not yesterday. I just had too many loose ends that simply had to be tied up. I serve on two different community boards, and both are having social events and elections. Instead of riding, I came home to do some middle aged adulting which is different from getting your bills paid or calling your mom. Middle age has some great financial benefits, but they come at a cost. Somebody has to do the work.
When we visited Tennessee this past summer, I discovered that I really like whiskey. I've always been a red wine type of girl, but no longer. My go-to Friday night let-it-all-go drink is now a whiskey Old Fashioned. If you're looking for a way to celebrate the end of a long week, might I suggest the following?
Whiskey Old Fashioned
After my ride this afternoon, I can guarantee there will be one or two of these bad boys in my future.
Enjoy your weekend!
It's actually Melissa's little lamb, but you get the idea. The great Kern County Fair just finished up this past weekend. Like at most fairs, or at least I assume so anyway, the livestock that the 4-H kids raise was auctioned off. Melissa and her family bought one of the lambs. Due to a conflict with the butcher, Lamb had no place to go immediately after the fair. The kid who raised it couldn't take it back, and Melissa doesn't exactly have a pen sitting around to house a lamb for the week, so, Melissa's lamb chops are parked out at the ranch.
The lamb got dropped off on Sunday as I was finishing my ride on Izzy. The truck and trailer - with the lamb still inside, were parked right next to the barn as I untacked. To say I did things in a hurry was un understatement. Lamb was not too happy about being in a horse trailer by itself. Lamb made sure everyone within twelve miles knew it.
I tied Izzy to his regular spot, but I whipped my tack off in record time and got him back to his paddock. The second he heard that lamb stomping around in the trailer, he tried to convince me that there was something really wrong. If he could have talked, he would have been telling me that he had seen THAT movie, and it's always the guy standing around who gets eaten. Izzy wanted no part of what was about to happen. I didn't either.
I didn't make it out to the barn on Monday, mostly because I knew that lamb was there, and I figured it wouldn't hurt to let everyone just cool their jets. When I showed up on Tuesday, Lamb was bleating as though the butcher was already on site. I tacked Izzy up, but all the while I was questioning my life choices. Izzy was vibrating, and his head was as high as it could go.
Thinking that he would settle down if he at least knew where all the bleating was coming from, I led him, or at least tried, to where the lamb is penned. Each step took a ton of coaxing. I finally persuaded him to go up to the fence surrounding the yard; the lamb is in a pen inside the yard. Lamb saw Izzy and leaped sideways. Izzy saw Lamb and also leaped sideways, dragging me with him.
Have you ever tried to turn a horse around when death is staring him in the face? You know how horses don't like to be facing away from danger unless they are bolting at a billion miles an hour? Yeah. I realized, too late, that I had made a very poor decision. We were standing on the cement driveway, and I needed to turn Izzy around so that we could get the heck out of the there.
The problem was that I didn't want Izzy to trample me as he spun around which was what he was trying to do. I put my arm out to keep him off of me, tucked my feet in, and slowly asked him to pivot. No way, Jose. He spun around so quickly that his hind feet did a literal burn out. I could smell the odor that came from friction. It had the same burning smell as when the farrier seals the bottom of the foot with a hot shoe.
Against my better judgement, I still tried to get in a ride. I figured Izzy would settle down once we got up to arena. I figured incorrectly. I spent 30 minutes trying to work on our relationship. We walked. We did turns on the forehand. We halted. We walked some more. And then we walked some more. After a half an hour, I knew that I was really pushing my luck, so we headed back to the barn where I again untacked in record time.
Yesterday, Lamb was still there, so I didn't even both trying to ride. I fed my boys, filled their water troughs, and listed to Lamb's sorrowful bleating. The horses seemed fine with the new noisy neighbor, but I wasn't about to test the waters.
Lamb or no lamb, I am going to try and get a ride in this afternoon. Wish me luck!
Why did the dinosaur cross the playground?
To get to the other slide.
Why didn't the skeleton cross the road?
He didn't have the guts.
Where did the King keep his armies?
Up his sleevies.
Why did the bird fly south for the winter?
It was too far to walk.
Why did the teacher pause at the road?
Because she couldn't remember which way to turn to get to the barn.
Things have been pretty crazy around here, but my 5th graders do a good job of keeping me entertained with the "morning corny." My riding has gone from six days a week to three if I am lucky. I didn't even bother going to the barn yesterday because of Mary's Little Lamb.
That story tomorrow.
Since I've been riding weekly with Sean Cunningham, owner and trainer at STC Dressage, I've only used my Pivo Pod for Pivo Cast (Pivo's version of a Zoom call) and not for recording video. I am sure the day will come when Pivo Cast will be able to both record and manage a video call, but for now, it's one or the other.
On Sunday, I decided to set up the Pivo Pod and record a ride. Izzy has made so much progress in the past six months that I wanted to see it for myself. I keep all of my Pivo equipment in a mini backpack. I've got the Pivo Pod, charging cable, and remote in its case. I have my Powerbeats ear buds and their charging cable in a mini carry bag. I also have my solar charger and its two cables. I also keep a reusable jumbo twist tie for attaching the solar cable to a fence if needed, and I keep my bendable tripod in the backpack as well. Keeping all of that stuff charged up and ready to go is a bit of a pain, but having it all in one convenient bag makes it manageable.
I got to the barn, and pulled up to the arena to set everything up before I even saddled Izzy. As I put my truck in park, I reached into my purse for my phone, and rolled my eyes in complete exasperation. I had the Pivo and it's many accessories, but I had forgotten my phone at home. Whomp, whomp.
Of course, I had a great ride. In the middle of the ride though, Izzy tripped and almost had us both rolling in the dirt. In the canter, he stumbled, throwing me over his right shoulder. He leaped up from the dirt, further unseating me, and bolted to the side. I scrambled hard to get my butt back in the saddle and my feet back down where they should be.
Once I finally got him back under control, the poor guy was super worried about the near fall, so we walked for a few minutes until he felt more sure of himself. I really wish I had caught that save on video. Then again, it's probably better not to see how near death we all come when we ride. Ignorance is bliss!
Technology is great, but only if you remember to bring it with you.
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