From Endurance to Dressage
Over the past month, I've written more times about the tiny little Kern River than I have in the entire 12 years I've been blogging. I've seen some of the rivers back east, and ours are nothing like those, but when you're used to a mere trickle, a creek really, seeing millions of gallons pouring off the Southern Sierra Nevada Mountains gets your attention.
On Sunday, with my boys recuperating from their annual vet visit, we decided to head up to Lake Isabella and into the small town of Kernville, the one that recently made the news when the river more than overflowed its banks. Before arriving in Kernville, we first pulled over to check out the dam and the height of the water level. You've all seen reservoirs that were low. Before this winter's rain, Lake Isabella was a swamp with some funky hillocks poking out of the murky water. No more. The lake is currently at 65% of capacity with a mountain of snowmelt headed our way.
Without seeing what it looked like just six months ago, it's hard to appreciate just how much it has filled already. Right now, the lake is holding 193% of average. Normally, there are sand dunes and dirt roads that criss-cross the shoreline. All of that is currently underwater. The lake now reaches the grass line, and even that is slowing being covered up by the rising lake level.
When we arrived in Kernville, we took the dogs down to the park to see the devastation that was caused by the wall of water that poured through the river's channel. Surprisingly, much of the damage has already been repaired. Some of the slabs that form the large sidewalk that follows the river have already been replaced, but many of them lay scattered like cards from a deck.
We ate lunch at a restaurant that sits high above the river with floor to ceiling windows. As we watched, a pair or rafts came hurtling by with all aboard paddling fiercely as they tumbled through the river's rapids. Many people come from all over southern California to raft the Kern River in its wet years. Rafting season has already begun.
As the river exits the dam, it flows through a narrow canyon as it plummets to the valley floor. We pulled off the road a few times to stare in awe at the sheer volume of water hurtling westward. The sound of the water rushing towards the valley was a roar that made it impossible to talk. We live just a handful of miles from the canyon's mouth, so as you exit the canyon, you can see our neighborhood perched on the bluff to the west. It's hard to believe that so much power is just minutes from our quiet neighborhood.
Just before leaving the canyon, my husband hiked down to the water to get a closer look at the cascading white water. I stayed up on the road where it was a bit calmer. If the water roared where I was, it was deafening standing on the boulder's edge.
Men, you just can't take them anywhere!
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%: