From Endurance to Dressage
Christmas vacation finally arrived which meant I had time to drive up on Monday and see Izzy for myself. You gotta give me some serious credit. It's a 260 mile round trip to visit my horse, and I plan to do it three more times in the next week and a half. That's more than 1,000 miles in two weeks!
The original plan was to watch the trainer ride and then take a lesson on Izzy. As we all know, best laid plans don't always work. On Thursday, Izzy came up lame. There was no heat or swelling, so it was assumed that he was footsore. He's been barefoot all his life (something I was going to change when he came home), and living in an irrigated pasture. After three weeks of work, it was decided that he needed shoes sooner than later.
Debbie Davis, the trainer, made special arrangements with her farrier for an emergency shoe job. Since this was Izzy's first shoeing, he of course put up quite a fuss. Fortunately, the vet was on site and was able to serve Izzy a delightful cocktail and serve as handler.
He had a few days off with some bute to help with the inflammation, but on Sunday night, he whacked himself or wrenched something. When we went out to get him, he was noticeably lame on the left front. There was some minor heat and swelling on the inside of the leg, partway between the fetlock and knee. I couldn't find a scratch or puncture wound, but he was definitely sore.
My plans for riding were scratched, but I had a great time playing with him anyway. I spent my time hosing off the mud on his legs and checking out the inflammation. This was a great opportunity for me to see how he handled the wash rack and the poking and prodding that comes with a lameness exam. I later poulticed the leg and wrapped it, all of which he handled with zero complaint. In fact, he let me poke at his leg while standing in the yard with no one to hold him.
I know a lot of people would freak out a little at their brand new horse coming up lame, but this kind of stuff doesn't phase me. Being a Looney Tunes worries me, but a whack on the leg is no big deal. So while it might slow his under saddle training for a week or so, Debbie has agreed to work on plenty of other things: lowering his head for bridling, more clipper desensitization, ponying, hammering his feet, and so on.
After I scrubbed his legs clean, I spent more time grooming his whole body, paying special attention to his head, face, and ears. He is already much better about lowering his head than he was three weeks ago. I also hammered his feet and worked on his mane and tail. He wasn't totally relaxed, but he clearly enjoys being groomed and handles the cross ties like a pro. I even left him in the barn aisle by himself while I went back to my car for supplies.
Even though I wasn't going to ride, I still saddled and bridled him. I mostly just wanted to check the fit of my tack. Fortunately, my girth and Micklem bridle (both were Sydney's) fit perfectly. My saddle also seems to fit, but as with Sydney, I really think I'll need to use a riser pad instead of the fleece half pad. How Speedy is the widest horse I've ever owned, I'll never understand!
I donned my helmet and gloves and took him for a walk. Frankly, I could have walked around all day. I was smiling like an idiot the whole way. He was so, so good! My favorite thing about this horse (so far), is that when he's worried, his go-to reaction is to just stop and stare. I'll take that any day over a whirl and a bolt.
My diamond in the rough definitely needs more polishing (and time), but I am so happy with how well he is settling into a routine and how sweet he is. So far, he hasn't fussed at anything that I've asked him to do. Under saddle might be a completely different thing, but I'll cross that bridge if we get to it. My plan is to go back up on Friday morning. I hope he's sound enough to ride, but if not, we'll just continue bridling, saddling, and hand walking.
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%: