From Endurance to Dressage
I've been an elementary school teacher for 28 years, and I've looked forward to my summer "break" each year. I put quotes around the word break because while I don't officially report to my job site for the next seven and a half weeks, I have already put that much time in during the school year.
My summer break works out to 280 hours: seven hours a day - what I am paid for, spread over eight weeks. When I divide those hours up by the 180 days that kids are in school, it works out to 1.5 hours per day. I arrive a little more than an hour early almost every day. I work through my unpaid lunch EVERY day, and there are many days, particularly in the fall, when I work 12 to 14 hour days. So at the absolute least, 180 of those 280 summer "break" hours are just the lunch periods I worked.
Back when I was just starting out, the last day of school left me giddy with excitement. More and more I find that I don't feel that sense of lightness for several weeks after school ends. Last summer, it took me a full month before that heavy filing in my chest let loose. Due to some weird scheduling, we had to work yesterday, a Monday. I spent the first hour or so in a meeting, and then the rest of the day was spent moving all of my crap from one school to a different school.
Knowing how much stuff I have accumulated in my career, I thought it best to move it all in one clean sweep. While Newt, my truck, has a long bed, I knew it wasn't long enough. On Sunday, I swept out the back of my trailer and hooked it up so it would be ready to take to school on Monday.
The custodians at the school I was leaving are awesome. They knew I was coming and had the gates to the playground standing wide open. Driving a truck and trailer on the basketball court was pretty fun. I almost made a big goof though. As I was circling around the playground to get closer to my building, I drove near a basketball hoop. As I looked at the next basketball hoop, I realized that my trailer is taller than my truck. I stopped really quickly and got out to eyeball how low the net was hanging compared to the top of my trailer and its vent windows. I did some quick calculations and decided I could make it, but only just barely. Taking out the basketball hoop would have been pretty embarrassing.
After several hours of packing and giving away as much stuff as I could, I finally got it all loaded. As it turns out, putting stuff in a horse trailer is a lot easier than loading it UP into the bed of a truck. Of course I forgot to take pictures, but I filled about three fourths of the floor of the trailer, much of it stacked two boxes high.
This year's position as the district's 5th Grade Virtual Academy teacher was supposed to be a temporary placement, but since I enjoyed it, I opted to make it a permanent move which is why I had to leave my old school. For this past school year, I made it work without having all of my stuff. But since I'll be doing this for at least one more year, I needed to move everything out of the old school into my office at the new school.
Fortunately, I was able to pull right up to the door of the small building where my office is located. I walked everything from the trailer, up the ramp, through the common area, and into my room. I had everything unloaded and stashed within a half an hour. Sometime in late July, while still on "break", I'll return to unpack and reconfigure my office.
'Cause you know, I have to start working off next summer's hours.
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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%: