From Endurance to Dressage
#1 - I caught Izzy napping the other morning. It doesn't happen often, but when it does, he's happy to let me sit beside him. I never catch Speedy napping. I have no photos of him laying down. Big brown horse has a mind of his own though, so if he's napping, I have to wait.
#2 - It matters not one whit, but I noticed that this little space is still on the list of the 60 Best Dressage Blogs and Websites to follow in 2022. We've been there for a while, but we're now number 8. That matters very little as some of the blogs listed are no longer even active. But still, it's a thing.
#3 - Something that matters even less is that we decorated for Christmas over the weekend. What makes that of any interest at all is that it's hard to do when it's 79 degrees - in November! Yes, you read that correctly; it was 79 degrees on Thanksgiving Day. Ho ho holy hell, it's hot!
#4 - Over the weekend I received an Advent Calendar filled with 24 samples of Effol products. I couldn't wait a month to see what was inside each little door, so I ripped open the box and emptied out all of the goodies. I can't wait to try them all!
#5 - Least important of all, Izzy stopped on my right foot for the third time in six months, twice in two weeks. When I got my pedicure last week, there was still a black spot at the base of one of my toenails that I couldn't see under the black nail polish I had chosen for October. You can see it now. Oh my gosh but does this version of a foot stomping really hurt. My foot still hasn't healed from summer's foot stomping. Two hours after Izzy stomped on it this time, it had already begun changing colors. Mother forklift!
So there you have it: five things that make up daily life. I think it's important to stop and recognize that life is filled with both big and small things. It's easy to get caught up in the next thing and the next and the next without stopping to be in the here and now. Being present is something I work on every day.
Even when it hurts!
I was cleaning out the photos on my phone the other day and realized that I was left with a bunch of very random images of things about which I had thought to maybe write but hadn't. Things that didn't seem important enough to write about on their own. So here they are all crammed into one post.
#1 Um ... Get Out Please!
Over the past year or so, Speedy's bravery has overgrown its pot. Way back in the beginning, he would stand with both toes outside of the threshold and lean way in to beg for a snack. Then his front feet started crossing the threshold until his whole body was inside and only his rear hooves where still planted safely outside. That lasted for several years. Suddenly, this fall, he has decided that it is safe for his whole body to be inside. This is new. He was completely indoors before I had the opportunity to stop him. So of course I had to take a photo.
#2 Don't Forget the Water (immediately forgets the water)
On a recent afternoon, I turned on the hose to fill Speedy's water trough. After peeking in, I realized it was full enough so I dragged the running hose back to the faucet and dropped it. The problem is, I forgot to turn off the spigot. I went back to the feed room and unloaded some feed, filled buckets, and puttered around. When I came back to dump Speedy's lunch bucket into the feeder, I was horrified that I had left the water on. Even more unfortunate was that it wasn't Speedy's paddock I had flooded, but the sandy pasture of the girls across the way. Oops! So of course I had to take a photo.
#3 We Have Hair!
During the summer's heat, Izzy rubbed out most of the hair on his shoulders, face, and croup, although how he managed to rub off the hair there is a complete mystery. While all of that was bad, worse was that he rubbed out his entire mane and nearly all of the hair on the top of his tail. In August, you could see his tail bone shining through like a bad comb over. Finally, the hair has begun to grow back in. He now has about two inches of hair up top which means that basically, it's a mullet. So of course I had to take a photo.
#4 He Still Has Spooky Moments
Well, this needs no explanation. The chestnut in the background was not too thrilled with something far off in the distance, so Izzy decided to offer her some moral support. Or maybe a bird chirped. Maybe a bird pooped. I don't know, and it doesn't matter. He hung a left, I laughed, and then he resumed walking as though nothing had happened. He's big and brown, but I've never said he's the bravest of fellows. So of course I had to take a screenshot.
#5 I Have the Best Dogs
I can't remember exactly how it came up, but my students were talking about eyebrows on dogs and whether they have them or not. I love dogs, and I am blessed to have a classroom full of dog lovers. As soon as we talk about animals - any animals, they all whip out their phones and tablets and press them to their laptop cameras so that we can all see whichever pet they've photographed most recently, usually a dog. I do it too, but it's usually a photo of one of my horses. On that day, I insisted that my labs have eyebrows and promised my students I'd show them the next day which meant ... of course I had to take a photo.
And that's how I ended up with some seemingly unrelated photos on my phone that seemed interesting enough to share. To me anyway.
This is a really stupid thing to complain about, but I sat down this weekend to do a bit of shopping and discovered that I didn't need anything. Money was a bit tighter over the summer than I would have liked, so I had tightened my belt, snapped my wallet closed, and zipped up my purse. My sense of frugality paid off; my bills were taken care of, I received a small raise, and I could finally let out a breath.
That brings me to this weekend. With summer clearance sales going on - Riding Warehouse has a big one: for each item you buy, you save a bigger percent. Buy 4 or more items and save 30%!; I was prepared to load up a cart and have some fun. Apparently, frugal me no longer knows the meaning of the word fun. Try as I might, I just couldn't find five things that I liked well enough to splurge on.
I did find a couple of things that I needed.
#1 Canter Mane and Tail
I like this stuff. A lot. I am pretty picky about which grooming stuff I put on my horses' coats, so I don't switch brands very often. I do like Mane 'n Tail for quick touch ups, plus it's cheap enough that I can leave it outside in my grooming station without worrying when it gets baked in the sun or rained on. I love Knotty Horse Apricot Oil so much that I brought my bottle home and use it on my own hair. My friend Valerie turned me on to the Canter product, and I am now on bottle number three. It has a really pleasant scent and works just as well as Knotty Horse but in a spray bottle. So, I use the Knotty Horse on myself and buy the Canter Mane & Tail for my horses.
#2 A Zip Up Polo Shirt
My collection of collared riding shirts has begun to look rather grungy. No matter how technical the fabric, at some point, the stink just doesn't wash out any longer. So, I sat down this weekend to restock my collection. It didn't take me long to find this one at Amazon. It comes with relatively good reviews, but for $15.99, I am not expecting a whole lot. I had three or four in my cart, but the voice of reason suggested that I go with just one to see if it's worth buying.
So what of the rest of My Five Things -items number 3, 4, and 5? How is it possible to NOT find three things worth purchasing? Honest to goodness, I tried, but I just couldn't find anything else that I could even marginally place in the need category.
Man. It stinks to be such a stick in the mud.
#1 Trailer Dent
First up is the dent I put in my trailer. I finally forced myself to go look at it last night. It's ugly, but it's not nearly as bad as I remember. Since I have a show this weekend, I wanted to make sure the tire wasn't flat and that I am not going to cut a tire as it travels down the road. Cutting a tire is NASCAR speak. It's what happens when one car makes contact with another car or the wall. The fender gets pushed in just enough to rub the tire. A good enough rub will cut the tire open. The last thing I need is a tire blow out as I travel over Interstate 5.
So, I took out a huge wrench and a little hammer. The pit crew of a NASCAR team would have been able to either pull the fender away from the tire by hand or hammer it out. Either I am not as strong as those guys are (duh!), or the aluminum of my trailer is sturdier than the body of their cars. Either way, I was able to put a big enough gap between my tire and the fender. I also refolded the funky tear. I have an appointment for Monday. Hopefully, the guys at Delaney's can get it looking a little better.
#2 Pampering Station
I wrote about my new "pampering station" yesterday. Who knew I needed something like that? After Monday's warm ride - it's in the high 90s again, I gave Izzy a quick shower, and then I shampooed his tail dock. Afterwards, I unclipped his lead rope and let him graze on the lawn as he dried. Having everything permanently at my fingertips has made it much easier to do the fancier things. As the weather gets even hotter, I'll appreciate not having to do so much running around to grab shampoos and whatever.
#3 Good Rides?
Whenever I think back to what riding Izzy used to be like, I wonder why I still feel so discouraged. Five years ago, every ride was pretty terrifying. His version of a spook was to leap into the air and then launch forward. It was all pretty dramatic. Back then, he couldn't just walk. He jigged, danced, bolted ... anything but walk. There was no rhythm, and he plowed through my aids like a bulldozer. He wouldn't bend, and every corner was a reason to spin and go the other direction. It was exhausting.
As I was riding the other day, I felt myself getting a bit dejected. Are we ever going to get there? I asked myself. I am not sure where there is, but I know it's not here. And then I reminded myself of how far we've come. Now, instead of all of the theatrics, a spook is just a spook - yes, he's spooking at the birds flying overhead, but at least he's staying on the the ground. Instead of diving into my hands, he sucks back a bit, reluctant to take the bit, but there are times when he will. And thankfully, those times are getting more frequent. When I rode on Monday afternoon, I was patient but insistent. I was rewarded with some show worthy simple changes. We're closer to there than we used to be.
#4 My New Boots Came
They're beautiful, but they don't fit. More on that later.
#5 Speedy's Going to a Show
I won't be riding him, but that makes it even more exciting. "T," one of Speedy's ladies and the one who has been riding him the longest, will be showing him in Tehachapi in two weeks. She came out for a lesson last night (no photos), so we could run through several tests. While we've worked on most everything from Training Level, we've never really strung multiple movements in a row. Intro B didn't go so well, but Intro C did, so we ran through Training Level test 1. After going through each test two or three times, both Speedy and T were getting tired.
I recommended doing Intro Test C for sure, but I told T she should decided whether she wanted to do the much easier Intro B test, or go for the longer canter in Training Level Test 1. She's ready for it. We had worked on the entry over the phone a few days before, so now she just needs to indicate which tests she's doing, write a check, and get it in the mail. I don't know how she feels, but I am really excited to see Speedy back in the spotlight. Retirement is over-rated.
So there you have it; five wildly unconnected things that somehow still all go together.
#1 Service Appointment
First thing this morning, Newt's going to the service department at Ford to see if we can eliminate the "wobble." I am prepared for a bit of well, we didn't see anything ma'am. That's the problem with something that only happens intermittently; it can't be reproduced on demand.
#2 He's Back!
What do they say, be careful what you wish for? Izzy is feeling better, much better! I sort of liked him better when he was a bit puny. When I rode last night, he was on fire. I got some brilliant moments from him - his trot work was amazing, but the rest of the time felt like I was riding a rocket. Beside being a bit of a looney tunes under saddle, there was another bit of evidence proving his wellness. He already has a sprung shoe. The farrier was out on Monday, but on Thursday, a nail was already popped out, and the shoe was slightly bent. This only happens when he's been playing roughly. Yippee, my horse is fixed?
#3 & #4 Are on Their Way!
As hoped for, my mom sent me a Riding Warehouse gift card for my birthday. A new Ovation Glitz Helmet and that pretty Equine Couture Fly Bonnet are both on their way here. The noise cancelling bonnet is back ordered, but when it comes in, I'll be ordering that as well as a new pair of Roeckl gloves; mine are shot.
I don't know if you've noticed it yet, but we're already seeing more daylight in the afternoons. Thank goodness. When I left the ranch yesterday, it was a bit after five, and I realized that I had ridden longer than I normally would after work, and there was still some daylight in the sky. December is such a tough month with its short daylight hours. January's arrival is always welcome.
Have a great weekend!
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
*** SCEC 10/15-16/22
2022 Completed …
(*) Tehachapi 5/22/22
(*) Tehachapi 7/24/22
(***) Tehachapi 8/28/22
2023 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
Qualifying Training Level
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%:
Score 1: 62.115%