From Endurance to Dressage
Today, I am 99% sure I'll be doing my "real" job at MARE which is either horse handler or side walker. When I was at MARE last Wednesday, the arena was nearly finished. The gates needed to be hung, the second rail of the fence, the sucker rod, needed to be installed, the final load of sand spread, and then the felt footing needed to be added.
Trainer 1, I was referring to her as the head trainer, but that is too wordy, told me that lessons were beginning this past Thursday afternoon despite a few unfinished projects. On Thursday morning, the gates were getting installed which means the arena would finally be safe enough to be ridden in. By the time I arrive today, most everything should be completed.
One thing I hadn't noticed before was that the roof also has lighting! This means the roof is not only shelter from our blistering hot summer sun, but lessons will be able to continue into the late afternoon in the winter. For a facility that is serving special needs kiddos, veterans, and people who need physical therapy, the newly built covered arena means that lessons can continue all year long.
Of course, there are a few more things to finish up like the drain between the arena and the barn. That area is still drying out, and I believe the rain gutters have yet to be installed. And once all of the construction bits and pieces have left, there will need to be some clean up around the barn and arena to tidy up the awkward dirt piles and muddied walkways. That will likely happen bit by bit as the cosmetic things are addressed.
Since I wasn't needed as a horse handler or side walker last Wednesday, I jumped in with two other volunteers to clean the facility's 30 saddles. After measuring all of them the week before, I was happy to jump in and clean them. Most were covered with a thick layer of dust, but beneath that, they seemed well conditioned. The two volunteers that were already there had cleaned two thirds of the saddles before I started.
As I pulled out a western saddle to clean, something I haven't done in more than 20 years, I noticed that one of the volunteers was cleaning and oiling a Winter saddle. For those who may not know, Wintec saddles are made from synthetic materials which means that they should not be oiled. Whoever rides in that saddle next is going to get a dirty butt. Since she seemed well into the job, I didn't say anything as I am not in charge.
While in the midst of saddle cleaning I was asked to help turn out some horses, so by the time I returned, the rest of the saddles had been cleaned and oiled. T1 (trainer 1) also asked for help packing some new polo wraps into the bin. I told her I would finish the job so she could get on with other tasks. I dumped all of the polos out and repacked them so that everything fit.
Once that task was done, I looked around for something else to do. I noticed the saddle cleaning materials were still out, so I searched for their likely home and then reorganized that closet so things fit better. With that job done, I started peeking into different bins to see what else could use some organization. When I opened the bin marked stirrups, I hit the jackpot. Inside was a massive tangle of stirrups and leathers. I quickly dumped everything onto the floor and set to work.
The two other volunteers quickly asked to join me. We lined up all of the stirrups and matched them with their partners. Before tying each pair together, we pulled off all of the leathers and matches them as well. We rolled each set of leathers into a tight roll and and used a bit of soft wire to tie each roll so that they would stay in their cinnamon roll shape. We tossed out random bits of trash, dusted out the bin, and restacked the leathers, stirrups, and replacement pieces neatly inside.
After all of that, there really wasn't much left to do, so I stood around waiting to help feed. With four or five sets of hands, feeding ten horses doesn't take long. I was warned that today's visit will be very different. I hope so, because it seems as though we've cleaned most of what can be cleaned.
I'll keep you posted.
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%: