From Endurance to Dressage
For several months, I have been raving about Izzy's progress. In fact, a few weeks ago, I had to drag the whip back out to get a little more forward from the big brown horse. Izzy had become quite the packer. And then we had a windy day.
He was spooky, and very tense in his work. It seemed like a reasonable reaction, but then the windy day was followed by weeks of windy weather. The wheels fell off our bus. Out of nowhere Izzy started to rush, fall on his forehand, and refused to soften. On Thursday, the canter finally disintegrated, and I realized I had a problem. It wasn't from the wind.
While Izzy can resist the bend, he's never before been so stiff that I couldn't get his poll to move. He also locked his jaw, which I've never felt him do either. When I couldn't even get a left bend, I finally clued in to the fact that I needed to call the chiropractor.
I checked Izzy's health folder and realized that he hadn't seen the chiropractor in fourteen month, more than a year! After his last adjustment, CC had encouraged me to get Izzy's hocks injected, which I did. He has felt great ever since.
When I realized that our problem wasn't a training issue, I knew it had to be chiropractic. I was certain he had to be out in his poll, but I also assumed his hocks might need another round of injections. I called CC, and he agreed to come out the next day.
CC is an amazing chiropractor, and I've used more than a few over the years. Since he is also a trainer and competitor, CC brings a unique skill set when he is adjusting horses. He understands how they think and is quick to differentiate between a training issue and a pain issue.
When I explained what was going on, he told me that in all likelihood, Izzy's comfort level had been diminishing over time and that it wasn't a sudden onset like I felt. He explained that Izzy is just getting so much broker that he kept it together for me until he couldn't. That was music to my ears! Weird, I know, but it made me proud of the big brown dude.
As I had suspected, Izzy was definitely out in his poll and his entire neck. He also had a rib head on each side that needed an adjustment, but his hocks were in great shape with absolutely no fluid that CC could find.
CC worked on Izzy's poll and neck for a solid 45 minutes. If you've had your horse adjusted, you know what relief looks like. When CC would get the right adjustment, Izzy's mouth would gape open as he licked and chewed and stretched his tongue. When the adjustment wasn't quite right, Izzy would practically glare at CC, but he always came back for more.
One thing I've never noticed during the adjustments is that the better the horse starts to feel, especially when working so intensely on the poll, the drippier their noses get. CC explained that the work he was doing was also helping to open Izzy's nasal passages. By the end, Izzy's nose was a faucet.
When CC finished with his adjustments, he walked Izzy out in a straight line. I literally gasped. His stride in front was at least six inches longer. His walk was so much freer and swingier that I almost didn't recognize him as my horse.
While CC never tries to drum up business, he told me that this horse won't go backwards in his training. If I feel him start to get sticky, it won't be a training issue. Instead, it means he needs another adjustment.
I am learning, albeit slowly, that when Izzy is resistant, he's probably uncomfortable. I won't be forgetting that particular lesson!
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%