From Endurance to Dressage
I hate to complain about the heat because most people in the northern hemisphere are experiencing some version of summer. And even though some folks' version of hot would feel practically arctic to me, I get that it feels hot based on what you're used to. Folks in Baghdad are laughing at me right now.
It got nasty hot these last few days: our official high on Monday was 109 ℉, but my phone clocked it at a stifling 111℉. Yesterday was better at 105℉, but not by much. I have a riding threshold, which means that I feel okay to ride at about 100℉. Above that, I just don't even want to.
When I am saddling up at 99 degrees and it's creeping toward the century mark, I'll keep the ride short and won't ask for a whole lot. When it's already above 100 when I saddle, and I see that it is getting warmer, my enthusiasm wanes very quickly. That's what happened yesterday.
There was nothing to be accomplished by schooling in that kind of weather. Instead, I gave Speedy a pre-show shower and worked on some of his funky spots. He gets this crusty, scabby gunk on his forehead in the late summer. I picked it off over the weekend and tested some MTG on it, but it stilled looked pretty funky. This is after cleaning it.
I gave it a gentle wash with a Betadine scrub and then rinsed it really well. He also had two of what I am very unscientifically calling "cold sores." The one on his lip took care of itself, but I decided to clean the one on his chin while I was washing his face. Truthfully, I am not sure what it is, but it's not bothering him, it's not getting worse, and the first one went away very quickly. As they say, it's a long way from his heart.
Even though it was only getting hotter, Izzy really needed to be worked. I gave him a shower as well and then brought him into the barn. Our humidity level was at 9% (I checked), so standing around in the shade with even a slight breeze dropped his temperature enough that his skin felt really cool to the touch.
I saddled him quickly and headed out for a hack around the neighborhood. He was a bit of a fireball, but I felt like it was actually a productive ride. He got to out alone, and I got to school him through some I don't wannas. We were only gone for twenty-five minutes, which was just enough time to dry off and work up a little sweat under his saddle pad.
We were actually gone just long enough for him to relax. He bounced and jigged for about 19 minutes, but slowly, his energy level evened out, and he finished the ride happy and willing. As soon as I got off, he dropped his head and snuffled around for something to eat without a single concern.
It's hard for me to see trail rides as having equal value as arena work, but this heat might end up forcing me to spend more time working on getting and keeping his attention when there's too much to see - a skill he'll need when he goes to a show.
I sure hope it's cooler today - for all of us!
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%: