From Endurance to Dressage
While still the love of my life, Speedy is also a bit of a challenge. We all know how fabulous he is, but he's not perfect. He's a bit of a drama queen, and as long as things are to his liking, he's very manageable.
Last summer, the flies really went to town on him. His right eye was perpetually goopy, and he developed that very long lasting summer sore in his urethra. You can read that novella here. While we've only had a couple of warm days so far this spring, the flies are already wreaking havoc. Speedy's right eye is once again puffy and irritated, so I have begun squeezing in a line of Neomycin/Dexamethasone ointment in his eye every day.
The main problem is that Speedy HATES to wear a fly sheet. He picks at it with his teeth until he successfully removes it or makes it so holey that it becomes unwearable. He is happy enough to wear a fly mask, but Izzy refuses to leave it alone. I've timed it. Izzy has it off within ten to fifteen minutes. Every time! And if it lands on Izzy's side of the fence, it is fair game. He doesn't just get it dirty, Oh, no. He makes it his mission to make it unwearable ever again. He shreds it.
My thought for this summer was to run another row of fencing panels to create a "no touch zone" between Speedy's and Izzy's large paddocks. As I discussed it with the ranch owner, she pointed out that unless we wanted to exclude Speedy from the shelter, there was no point in erecting a second fence as Izzy would have access to Speedy when they stood in the shade under the shelter.
You see, the shelter straddles the cross fencing. The corners of the shelter are attached to a fence panel that runs perpendicular to the cross fencing. It makes a three-sided "stall." I had thought to run a line of panels from the corner of the shelter to the back fence. It would create a buffer of at least eight feet - far enough that Izzy couldn't reach over and yank off Speedy's fly mask. The ranch owner was right though. Both boys spend a lot of time under the roof in the summer time. Izzy would still have full access to Speedy's fly mask.
While there are a few other places at the ranch that Speedy could live, we already know that he would hate them. Before moving in to the other half of Izzy's field, Speedy lived in a large paddock during the day with turnout into a sandy pasture at night. He shared the space with a very friendly gelding. Later, Speedy had the entire pasture to himself with some mares on the other side of the fence, but he never liked living over there. As soon as we moved him next door to Izzy, he relaxed and quit hurting himself.
Besides making him unhappy, moving Speedy would also disrupt everyone else's living arrangements. He can't live with Pixie and Archie because they are an elderly couple who are quite bonded to one another. Threes a crowd as they say.
Dollar the stallion lives immediately behind my boys, but Dollar has always been a bachelor and probably wouldn't appreciate a roommate at his (very advanced) age.
And of course, it doesn't make any sense to put Speedy back where he was. Allie lives there now, and while he likes her just as much as he liked his last roommate, it wasn't enough to keep him relaxed. Of course, the two ladies who live front of Speedy and Izzy have a gigantic field which could be crossed fenced, but Speedy would be out on the edge of the field, and we know he wouldn't be happy being somewhat isolated.
Also across from my boys is Sarah. She lives to the left of the two mares. Her field is also cross fenced because we had the pony living there for quite some time. He has since gone to live with the lady who owns him, so Sarah has two paddocks with a gate that is left open to allow her more room.
The pony's paddock which is directly across from where Speedy lives now might be the only place he'd be happy, but it's a smaller space. It shares a fence line with the two ladies to the right, and of course, Sarah lives behind the fence on the left. It was a good sized living arrangement for the pony, and I know many horses in California live in paddocks that are smaller, but with Speedy's arthritis, I would rather he have as much room as possible, and I know he uses his entire paddock.
Unfortunately, His Highness is throwing out the proverbial baby with the bath water. I could move him so that we could keep at least a fly mask on him, but he insists on maiming himself when we do. So for now, we'll fight the flies with spray and ointment unless someone can send me a link to a nearly indestructible fly mask.
All suggestions welcome!
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%: