From Endurance to Dressage
Our winter has been very mild. There really haven't any days that I couldn't ride because of bad weather. That might sound wonderful to those of you who have been stuck indoors with blizzards, frozen soil, and shoe sucking mud, but for us, it means that our summer will likely be very, very dry and dusty. It's already so dry and dusty that I started watering the arena in February.
Our spring is also usually quite quick; one short month at best. It seems as though it arrived last week, took a look around, and headed for a cooler climate. I rode in a tank top on Friday evening, EVENING, and again on Saturday morning, as in 9:00 in the a.m. I haven't checked what the actual high was on Saturday, but it was definitely in the low 80s. We have some rain predicted for some time this week. Hopefully it will bring some winter back to California's central valley.
In the meantime, I took advantage of the warm day and gave both boys a full soap bath. Neither was too pleased as it hadn't hit 80 yet, but they survived. Speedy went first. Since he acted so put out by the whole event, I took pity and tossed a cooler on him while he nibbled the grass outside Sydney's stall. The wash rack is just a few feet away so I kept my eye on his long rope while I bathed Sydney.
Sydney is much more stoic than Speedy G. While he minded the cold water, he didn't fuss about it the way Speedy did.
Since I had them both out at the same time, I decided to try and let them graze in hand at the same time. It cracks me up that this is something I have to "try." When I was endurance riding, my horses were best friends. They could do everything side by side and were required to do so in a very well behaved manner. I could even load both horses at the same time: every body climb in!
Sydney is the alpha horse in my little family, even though none of our horses share a fence line. Our barn was designed in such a way that the barn aisle separates the horses on one side, and the cross ties or tack room separate them on the other side; it's a four stall barn. As I walk my boys in and out of the barn, I let them socialize over the fence with one another until the nipping quits being friendly and approaches actual biting.
Speedy is a really friendly horse and loves to visit. He is always very offended by Sydney's rough "play." Sydney really wants to play with someone, but he's too mean and bossy to Speedy so I don't let the interaction go on for too long. It's interesting though that if I let Sydney loose in the neighbor's barn and yard where there are three stalled horses with whom he can visit, he doesn't fuss at any of them. In fact, he's in love with the neighbor's mare and lets her squeal and hiss at him while he stands docilely bearing her wrath.
Anyhoo ... I kept both boys in hand and just kept a watchful eye on where I was positioned, always in front of them. Speedy kept clear of Sydney who seemed oblivious to where Speedy was. There were a few HEY! moments, but they weren't caused because anyone was after anyone else. When Sydney stepped on his rope, he reared and panicked which sent Speedy scurrying for cover. A few times, I simply dropped both lead ropes and let them sort themselves out.
Neither boy wanted to go anywhere, but it seemed safer to let go so Speedy could move to what he felt was a safe distance. Sydney looked for me each time he panicked. I repeatedly showed him that stepping on his rope was no big deal. When I hand graze him alone, stepping on the rope never causes him to worry. I suspect he felt that Speedy was the source of his "entrapment." I think Speedy thought so to because he knew to get the hell out of Dodge when Sydney popped up. Neither boy ever moved more than a few feet away from me, and after a time we all settled into a comfortable distance away from one another.
By the time I was done with the hand grazing, I put Speedy on my right and Sydney on my left and led both boys through the barn with no mishaps. Speedy walked into his stall and let me position him so that I could slip his halter off while Sydney waited patiently on the other side of the gate. Sydney walked quietly into his stall, and the "try" was done. I rarely need to have both boys out at one time, but it has happened occasionally. I think we'll do some more practicing.
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%: