From Endurance to Dressage
I finally had a horse day that was completely free of stress and worry. Since I decided to sell Sydney this past November, it's the first one I've had in almost three months.
It's not like I've been sitting around depressed and gnawing my nails to the nubs, but let's face it, I've had a few issues with which to contend. Let's see... I had to find a good home for Sydney. Then I searched for my next horse, worrying the whole time about making a good choice. I found Izzy and then decided to find a good trainer to start him off correctly. Big fail.
I then worried about his "difficult behavior" as he went from one injury to another. I worried about how to get him home, and once he was finally in my own barn, I took off the bandages and found something truly worry worthy - a ginormous hole in his leg.
So here I am, nearly three months later, finally feeling at peace with the equine world ...
It's a three day weekend - thank you Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. As such, I rolled out of bed on Saturday with a plan to get my chores done early so that I could languish at the barn in daylight.
I started with Izzy, my brave little Soldier. He got a thorough grooming, and I messed with his feet some more. I also played around with squirting stuff in his mouth. In this case, I used a water/molasses solution. I also clipped his muzzle and bridle path (he yawned through the process), and finished off his day with a hand walk.
I should mention that I enjoyed myself so throughly throughout the day that I didn't take a single photo, sorry.
After playing with my little Soldier, I moved on to my little rock star, Speedy G. The first few minutes of our ride turned out to be wild and wooly as he had a wild hair. Rather than fight it, I pushed him into a hand gallop and got in two-point. I let him race around the arena for a minute or two as he blew off some built up steam.
After that, he showed me what a First Level dressage horse looks like. He was nicely forward and listening to my half halts. When we got to the right lead canter work, he picked up a really balanced canter and gave me the best counter canter on the single loop from Test 3 that he's done yet. It was perfect. I called it quits with that effort.
After Speedy was tucked back in his stall, I rode the neighbor's skyscraper. She calls him Austin, but every time I saddle him up, I marvel at how tall he is. I almost need a mounting block to get the saddle on him. He wears Back on Track front boots, but on this day, I couldn't find them. He was a bit stiffer than he had been on Wednesday when I last rode him, and I wondered if not having his BOT boots was part of the problem.
When I reported how the ride went to his owner, she quickly dug around in her tack room until the boots were found. We're both eager to see if he feels better today with the boots. We both realize that he also might be looser just because he'll have been worked on consecutive days.
When Austin was back in his stall, I pulled out Marty, my barn owner's gelding. She's been really busy with work lately, and when she heard that I was riding the neighbor's horse, she asked if I might also hop on her boy when I had some time.
Since I am only riding Speedy right now, I miss the extra saddle time I was getting by riding Sydney as much as I did. So to be asked to ride two other horses is not only a huge compliment, but it's also a great way to fill up my day. I had a great ride on Marty. He's very sweet and willing, and he gives me a chance to work on refining my own riding skills.
Today should be much like yesterday except that Izzy will get a bandage change on top of the grooming and hand walking. Hopefully the skyscraper will be a little looser, and Marty will be just as pleasant to ride as he was yesterday. And Speedy, always the wild card, will no doubt surprise me with something new and different.
Here's to three-day weekends - cheers!
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%: