From Endurance to Dressage
Five whole days passed without me being in the saddle last week. It was awful. The only time that happens is when we're on vacation. By Thursday, I was in such a horrible mood that I went into the bedroom at 7:00 p.m. and stayed there until 4:45 the next morning. So when Saturday morning dawned relatively cool, I was at the barn by 7:30, eager to get back on track.
The first thing I did was turn on the sprinklers. It's been hot as holy hell here so everything is very dry and dusty. The second task was to turn Sydney out for a bit of a romp. Speedy was not particularly thrilled to be third on my list, but I was forgiven in no time as soon as I started grooming.
During the summer months, he gets a scrub followed by a soft brush each morning which keeps his coat clean and soft. He hadn't been brushed in at least six days, so he was particularly itchy.
Over all, I don't think the week-long vacation hurt him at all. In fact, his eyes were a bit softer, and he seemed really happy to see me. The thing that I most liked was how super tight his legs were. He doesn't fill, but his legs haven't looked this tight in a very long time.
I could see and feel every single tendon and bone in his leg. And while it was slightly cooler than it has been, it was still in the 70s, certainly not enough to tighten up his legs. I suspect that the time off was actually good for him and allowed any minor inflammations to subside.
When I rode the previous week, both Speedy and Sydney were suddenly terrified of something in the far corner. I suspected that some kind of animal had gone through there leaving a scent behind. After more than a week though, there was no reason to be so spooky out there, but Speedy remembered. I had to work that corner fairly thoroughly to convince him that yes, he could bend correctly, and no, bolting was not permitted.
A few times around, I had to give a very strong halt with the outside rein while jabbing him with my inside spur to keep him from whirling and bolting across the arena. We went through that corner at least 20 times. We did loops, serpentines, tear drops, 20-meter circles, etc. all while I kept jabbing him with that inside spur. Eventually, he gave up and made the corner without any resistance.
While it may sound like we were fussing at one another, it was actually a lovely ride. Speedy is really learning how to thrust with his hind legs, and I am having a blast riding his bigger, loftier stride. We'll be at the CDS Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC) this weekend, and I am so looking forward to applying some of our new-found skills.
It's good to be back in the saddle!
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
*** SCEC 10/15-16/22
2022 Completed …
(*) Tehachapi 5/22/22
(*) Tehachapi 7/24/22
(***) Tehachapi 8/28/22
2023 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
Qualifying Training Level
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%:
Score 1: 62.115%