From Endurance to Dressage
If you've been here for a while, you might remember that five years ago we moved out to the edge of town into a golf course community. The golf course sits just 100 yards to our south. A golf course on the edge of town means wildlife. For the most part, we don't see many of the animals, but we know they're around.
Our backyard faces one of several reservoirs used to provide water for irrigation for the golf course. Our lake - some insist it is just a pond, is the largest of the reservoirs. It is home to a plethora of birds including egrets, herons, Canada Geese, and tons of different ducks. The lake is filled with bass, turtles, crawdads, and of course frogs. One of the reasons we bought this house was because of its proximity to such a diverse ecosystem. We're just minutes from the grocery store, gas station, and bank, but once we're home, the bustle of urban life disappears.
On Thursday afternoon, we had a little visitor. While my husband was watering plants in the back yard, he noticed a lump of gray fur nestled into the pillows of our patio furniture. He frantically waved me outside asking what the lump might be. I took a step closer and saw that the bundle of gray fur was a raccoon. Its head was tucked under the pillow so it was hard to tell at first. Of course, we both leaned in closer to see if it was alive. The steady rise and fall of its belly told us that he was indeed breathing.
I began cooing about its cuteness, while my husband threatened to sic the dogs on it. I of course declared that there was no way we were doing that. Instead, I grabbed one of the throw pillows as a shield and a broom as my lance, and I set to work trying to shush the tubby guy off the furniture. I've met my share of raccoons, but this guy had a set of huevos the size of grapefruits.
I first poked him softly with the business end of the broom to which he said, hey! He grabbed the broom in both paws and tried to jerk it from me as he growled and hissed, clearly cussing my lack of hospitality. I poked him a bit more firmly and told him to get off my furniture.
It quickly became quite apparent that the broom was doing nothing but annoying my new friend, so my husband grabbed the pool net with the plan of poking it with a bit more force. Our unwelcome guest did not like getting poked, and he showed his displeasure by growling even louder and doing little somersaults along the sofa. Eventually, my husband irritated the little dude enough that he crawled through the back of the sofa and got down under it.
My husband kept poking with the pool net, but the little raccoon was having none of it. He simply scampered from one end of the couch to the other as my husband tried to fish him out. I kept warning my husband not to hurt it, but I doubt he could have; that raccoon was pretty sturdy. The sun was beginning to set, so I suggested we leave him be and check on him in the morning. It was clear that no amount of prodding was going to get him to come out from under the sofa.
We kept our eye on on him all evening, and by the morning he was gone. We've seen our share of skunks, and my front yard has been sprayed more than once this winter, but this is our first raccoon visit. He was super cute and braver than I would have liked. His tough guy attitude certainly worked on me. I wouldn't mind an occasional visit, but we hope he hasn't decided that our patio sofa is a good place to crash.
If he is going to hang out, he'd better clean up after himself at the very least.
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%
2022 Show Season
(r) Ride-a-Test Clinic
(Q) Must Qualify
2022 Shows Schedule
(*) Tehachapi 5/22/22
2022 Completed …
2022 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
2 Scores/1 Judges/60%: