From Endurance to Dressage
Hey! We're back. More on our trip in a day or two ...
A few days before we left for Nashville, Izzy and I met up with MC, my endurance mentor and riding partner. MC and I rode thousands of miles together. MC has been an endurance competitor since at least the early 1980s, and is one of AERC's highest milage riders. What she doesn't know about the sport isn't worth knowing.
The Central Valley of California regularly experiences 6 months without rain from March through November. Occasionally we'll see some rain during the monsoon season (July or August), but it's rare. Last Wednesday, we had a record setting rainfall with thunder and lightening. The weather was cooler than normal - high 80s, but the footing was perfect with no dust. We left MC's place right around 8:30 a.m.
While Izzy has turned into a pretty reliable trail horse, this was the first ride where he did not jig even one single time. He was a bit of a camelephant here and there, but after the first 30 minutes, I was able to ride him on the buckle.
The Panorama Vista Preserve covers 936 acres with the Kern River flowing through the middle. Thanks to the efforts of a lot of different people, the area contains miles of equestrian trails and has been planted with hundreds and hundreds of trees that now provide shaded trails over many parts of the river bottom. For many years, I boarded my horses in the area and rode through the preserve daily. Over the years, the trees have matured, and what was once a pretty desolate area of the river is now a lush habitat for birds and other wildlife.
With MC leading, we covered most of the preserve. MC's gelding Gem is a well traveled endurance horse with quite a few miles under his girth. Since he doesn't have a race until fall, MC kept the pace slower for Izzy but that doesn't mean we poked along. We did quite a few long stretches of trotting which was just what Izzy has needed. In the beginning, he was pretty high headed, but before long he was willing to trot in a more level frame.
I normally don't ride for quite that long, but Izzy really needed a good solid day. We rode 9.41 miles in two hours and thirty-five minutes - definitely not an endurance pace, but it was fun.
I was really proud of the big brown horse. He didn't do a single thing wrong, and he was very rideable. Once we got going, Izzy settled into the rhythm of the ride and never showed any resistance. We even crossed the river twice. The first time it was belly deep and pretty reedy, but he plowed right across and even stopped to drink both times. By the time we finished up, he and Gem were good buddies.
MC and I have a mutual friend who has been riding on Fridays with MC as she and her horse attempt to get fit enough for a fall endurance ride. I am hoping to tag along with the two of them at least a few times this summer. Even though Izzy and I have done a lot of trail riding every summer, I think he is finally ready to learn from the experience.
I just might need to check next Friday's weather ...
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%: