From Endurance to Dressage
I don't know how many years my friend, KG, and I have traveled to Pomona for either Equine Affaire or Horse Expo, but it's more than 10 years and less than 20. We always have a great time and are usually planning next year's trip as we make the long drive home in a punchy stupor intoxicated on some new extravagant or quirky purchase. One Year KG even bought a horse trailer.
This year's event wasn't the best, but we we always turn it into something special. Even if the number of vendors is down or the clinicians aren't ones we want to see, we dig down and find things of interest to make the day worth the time it takes to drive down. And while the shopping was weak this year, I still managed to spend a small fortune. The clinicians were a bit sparse, but we still managed to stay until after dark.
Here's a sampling of the day ...
As soon as we arrived, we made a beeline to Jane Savoie's lecture on Lateral Work. I've seen her many times on TV and watched her videos online, but she is even better in person. She was funny, friendly, and able to work on the fly. Her lecture was also timely for me as she focused on leg yielding and turns on the forehand.
The best takeaway for me was her explanation of weighting the outside seat bone in the leg yield. She explained that when you weight the inside seat bone when pushing with your inside leg, you actually make it harder for the horse to step forward and over. If we weight the outside seat bone, we encourage the horse to move over and under us.
After seeing Jane Savoie, we wandered through the buildings looking for things to buy. It's not as though I can't just buy anything that I'd like to during the rest of the year, but there's just something so satisfying about finding some new product and handling it before actually paying for it. I found a clever new pair of white polos (the velcro comes off for washing), a pony tail bun thingy for my hair, a bottle of Equus Survivor Detangler, and a new can of the Beeswax conditioner that I use for my boots.
After eating lunch, we wandered over to listen to Dr. Max Wilcox, DVM discuss lameness exams. It was actually quite an interesting lecture as he had a horse there who was slightly lame. He walked us through his exam procedures and explained why and how he conducts the exam.
My biggest takeaway was that he placed as much emphasis on examining the "sound" parts of the horse in order to get a baseline with which to compare the "unsound" parts. A second take away was that often times the lameness that presents itself is actually compensatory for a different initial lameness. Unless the initial lameness is diagnosed, the true problem won't be addressed. Finally, every horse will show wear and tear, but it's important to eliminate those issue in an effort to find the cause of the lameness that you're examining.
We next settled in to watch Peggy Brown and Susan Harris discuss Anatomy in Motion. I don't know if these ladies are the only ones who do this lecture, but they're the ones who paint the horse's skeletal structure on one side and the muscles and soft tissue on the other. Peggy rode with a custom painted skeletal suit that shows her skeletal structure in action.
I have seen her books before, but it was quite interesting to see her in person. As she rode, she showed us good riding form as well as incorrect riding. The visual of her suit really helped the audience see how her position influenced her horse's movement, both positively and negatively.
After watching the Anatomy in Motion lecture, we returned to the buildings to do a bit more shopping. I already shared that I bought a new pair of Ariat Volants, swoon, and KG found herself an awesome leather hat that also set her back a few pennies. I was glad I wasn't the only one spending too much!
Near the end of the day, we went over to see Nick Karazissis. We've seen him several times before and have enjoyed his clinics. This year, he was working with a group of young riders who were clearly closer to beginners than to immediate riders. His lecture focused primarily on rider position so we didn't get to see as much jumping as in the past. I was a little disappointed by that, but he was still very interesting to listen to.
Horse Expo hasn't yet announced a 2015 date. I hope they do it again because if there isn't an Expo, KG and I will have to figure out where to spend the first Saturday in February!
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%: