From Endurance to Dressage
Izzy's Equine Jolly Mega Horse Ball and Cover arrived this weekend. If it lasts, this is the best toy ever! In case you're interested in buying one, I thought I'd share what came out of the box as I was a little surprised, and maybe even a bit intimidated by the assembly process.
I have a medicine ball at home that used to get a lot of use, but now its main job is to serve as a place to stretch my back and ribs. Occasionally I'll sit on it and work my pelvis too. I assumed the horse ball would be about the same, so I was surprised at its heaviness when I pulled it out of the box.
Based on recommendations by friends, I also ordered the cover. As surprised as I was by the heft of the ball, I was initially concerned about the petiteness of the cover. Once I shook it open, it turned out to be appropriately large and fairly sturdy.
I am really glad that I flipped through the directions before I started airing up the ball because I falsely assumed you could remove the cover or put it on with the ball inflated. No, you can't. And in fact, when I was trying to find the opening, I got a little worried when there didn't appear to be a way to get the ball inside. It turns out that it is quite a small slit in the cover that closes with velcro.
The directions don't provide any tips for actually getting the ball inside the cover, but with a bit of thinking, I decided to roll the ball into a tube shape and slip it inside the cover. Once the ball was inside, I reached in and unfurled it, but I kept a close hold on the blow up hole.
The ball came with a plastic foot pump, but it was nearly ineffective. I tried using my truck's emergency kit's air compressor, but that only works on stemmed tires. I went back to the foot pump and alternated between squeezing it with my feet and hands. At one point, I even put it between my knees à la Suzanne Somers.
I finally gave up on the foot pump and just blew it up using my mouth. It turned out to be much faster. Once the ball was three quarters of the way filled, I went back to the foot pump as it was getting difficult to push air into the ball with just my lungs. In all, once I got a system going, it took about twenty minutes to inflate the ball.
The company that manufactures the giant ball has an entire page in the directions pamphlet instructing owners how to properly introduce the ball to their horses. Apparently, some owners have scared holy hell out of their animals by launching the ball directly at their unsuspecting equines.
Speedy would have a heart attack if I put this ball anywhere near his stall. Knowing that, I purposely aired it up where he could observe the process, but I made sure to stay far enough away that he didn't feel threatened. I knew Izzy would have no such concerns.
Once it was ready for play, I gently nudged it out of the tack room doorway so that Speedy could get an eyeful. As anticipated, he gave a full on DANGER snort and back peddled to the far side of his paddock.
On the other side of the barn aisle, my big brown Zweibrücker nearly launched himself over the fence to get closer to this new and wondrous object.
Deciding to completely ignore the manufacturer's warning, I tossed the ball over Izzy's fence and enjoyed the show. He pounced on the ball and instantly realized the entertainment that could be had with something so large, mobile, and squishy. Click to enlarge photos.
Once the ball started moving around, Izzy realized that he could make it do stuff. I was laughing so hard that I almost forgot to keep taking pictures. I quickly switched my iphone to video and shot a few seconds of his play.
To those friends who suggested this toy for my over-active green bean, THANK YOU. Let's hope it lasts until at least Christmas!
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 Second Level. 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%
2021 Show Season
(r) Ride-a-Test Clinic
(Q) Must Qualify
2021 Pending …
8/7-8 SCEC (***)
10/30-31 SCEC (***)
2021 Completed …
10/24-25 SCEC (***)
11/7-11/8 SB (***)
4/10-11 SCEC (***)
5/16-17 El Sueño (***)
6/26-27 SCEC (***)
7/17-18 El Sueño (***)
2021 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
2nd Level Qualifying
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%:
Score 1: 60.610% Bhathal
2nd Level Qualifying
5 Scores/4 Judges/61%:
Stuff I Read