From Endurance to Dressage
In this case, that isn't a figure a speech. Over the weekend, both of my boys saw Dr. Tolley at Bakersfield Large Animal Hospital. While we didn't do any diagnostics or bloodwork, Dr. Tolley did do all of the usual things. He listened to their pulse and respiration, checked their bellies for signs of sand, and gave them both a general once over.
Before doing all of that though, we also put each one on the scale. When Speedy was at his heaviest, he weighed in at 1,005 pounds. He's never been an easy keeper, but since he hasn't been working, he's held his weight really well. He came in at 958 pounds. He got a little thin early in the winter, so I upped his daily supplemental feed. I was happy to see that his weight has held steady at over 900 pounds.
The big brown horse, a beast by most any standard, surprised us all. Dr. Tolley couldn't believe how big and solid Izzy is. He remarked several times that Izzy has really blossomed. He agreed that there isn't an ounce of fat on that horse; he is solid muscle. I was sure he'd hit the 1,400 mark this time, but nope. He came in exactly at 1,350 pounds like always.
That morning, Izzy's poop was super splatty. I am still trying to test out how frequently to use the GastroElm, if at all, so I went from once a week to none. At exactly the two-week mark, I got piles like the one you see in the photo above. Gross. Doctor Tolley agreed that products don't work forever. He said that psyllium, great for removing sand, is also a general fix-it-all for tummy imbalances. I'll be starting Izzy on a seven-day treatment this week. It also seems like I should use the GastroElm once a week until I can find something to trade off with.
Once we were inside, Dr. Tolley started with Speedy. His separation anxiety is harder to overcome with drugs, so we always do him first. Izzy screams and hollers, but he isn't likely to hurt himself like Speedy might. And once Speedy gets all jacked up on adrenaline, it's harder to sedate him for the dental work. Izzy screamed the entire time, but with a little cocktail and me by his side, Speedy didn't even notice.
Dr. Tolley has been Speedy's dentist for fifteen years. When he looked in Speedy's mouth, he proudly stated, "this horse has the best teeth of any older Arabian." It's because of Dr. Tolley of course. He is a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to teeth. After doing his exam, he handed his head lamp to me so that I could do my own inspection. I always tell him what I see or feel and he either agrees with me or redirects me. Speedy needed very little work this year. Dr. Tolley believes that horses have an easier time in their senior years if you do annual work on their teeth.
Big brown horse didn't need much work either. Dr. Tolley did the same exam and followed the same process. He starts with power tools and finishes off by hand for the detail work. He works efficiently so that the horses are done quickly with as little drama as possible. When Izzy was done, he joined Speedy in his own catch pen to sober up a bit. I walked back to the office to chat with the ladies, get vaccination certificates, and wait for my bill.
The doctors and staff at Bakersfield Large Animal Hospital are really phenomenal. They know their clients and treat them as friends and family. There is an unpretentious atmosphere that I really appreciate. I wish I could have the same type of relationship with my dogs' vet, but they barely let clients in the door. Dr. Tolley welcomes my hands-on approach, probably because he knows that a hands-on owner detects problems much more quickly than the other kind.
While I love going to the vet for routine care, I hope I don't see them again for at least six months.
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%: