From Endurance to Dressage
I love to travel - new foods, new languages, new cultures, but I also love coming home. After a good night's sleep, the first thing I did was to go grocery shopping. As I drove down our wide street with ample parking and then browsed the grocery aisles overflowing with products that I recognized, all I could feel was gratitude for the life of ease and abundance that we live.
Italy was great, how could one think otherwise? But at the same time, it was crowded, parking was a nightmare (so glad we took the train or hired drivers), and everything was so expensive. Even so, we loved every minute of it. As I look back at my last post (scroll down a bit or hit this link), I am amazed that my pictures show a place even more beautiful than the internet photos I shared.
First Stop - Venice
In Venice, we got lost in narrow alleys, rode the Vaporetto (water buses), watched a glass maker in action, toured the Doge's Palace, hung out in St. Mark's Square, and began our gastronomical journey. Oh. And wine. And Prosecco. Every day.
Next Stop - Florence
In Florence, we saw art. All of it. More art than I ever hope to see again. I loved Michelangelo's David though, it was truly magnificent and worth going to see. We also visited the Uffizi (too much art), the Vecchio Palace (home of the Medici), the Duomo, and all of the other stuff that you're supposed to see. We enjoyed amazing food, gelato, and Chianti - my new favorite wine!
And Then - Pompeii
Of everything we did over the two weeks that we were in Italy, hiking around the rim of Vesuvius was the most spectacular. My photos can't even begin to do that view justice. We were the only people that hiked it the entire day. We even dropped down inside the crater to feel the steam vents - hot enough to cook food. It was simply awe-inspiring.
The ruins of Pompeii were also quite interesting. We ended up going twice. The first afternoon, we went by ourselves to get a feel for the ruins without hearing a guide's explanations. The next afternoon, we returned with a guide, which helped pull the whole story together. If you visit Italy, I would recommend adding Pompeii to your itinerary.
And on to the Amalfi Coast
The Amalfi Coast was truly stunning. The blue of the Mediterranean Sea was mesmerizing - you could stare at it for hours, and we did. We swam, hiked, ate, and even cooked some of our own meals. We took a boat/cruise to Capri, a neighboring island where we swam, enjoyed wine and prosecco, and reveled in the wind and spray from the boat. That trip to Capri was my second favorite thing that we did in Italy.
Last Stop - Rome
If I could have rearranged a few things, I would have added at least one more day to our stay in Rome. There was simply so much more to see. We spent one morning in Vatican City touring the Sistine Chapel, The Vatican Museums, and the Basilica (we've now been to the two biggest churches in the world). We spent another morning touring the Colosseum, Palatine Hill, and Ancient Rome including the Roman Forum.
In the afternoons, we saw the Spanish Steps (not sure what the big deal is), Trevi Fountain (very pretty), and Piazza Navona (also unsure of the draw). We spent a lot of time just ambling around, stopping for a pizza, some wine, and occasionally some more gelato.
I worried about gaining weight, but I shouldn't have. My husband's Apple watch kept track of our daily mileage. In the first week, we walked 60 miles. In total, we walked more than 100 miles over the two weeks, most of it included steps. Most days we walked between 7 and 10 miles. One day in Positano, I climbed/descended more than 4,000 stairs and walked several miles.
I am really glad to be home, but we're already planning our next vacation - an African Safari!
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%: