From Endurance to Dressage
Mary's Little Lamb
It's actually Melissa's little lamb, but you get the idea. The great Kern County Fair just finished up this past weekend. Like at most fairs, or at least I assume so anyway, the livestock that the 4-H kids raise was auctioned off. Melissa and her family bought one of the lambs. Due to a conflict with the butcher, Lamb had no place to go immediately after the fair. The kid who raised it couldn't take it back, and Melissa doesn't exactly have a pen sitting around to house a lamb for the week, so, Melissa's lamb chops are parked out at the ranch.
The lamb got dropped off on Sunday as I was finishing my ride on Izzy. The truck and trailer - with the lamb still inside, were parked right next to the barn as I untacked. To say I did things in a hurry was un understatement. Lamb was not too happy about being in a horse trailer by itself. Lamb made sure everyone within twelve miles knew it.
I tied Izzy to his regular spot, but I whipped my tack off in record time and got him back to his paddock. The second he heard that lamb stomping around in the trailer, he tried to convince me that there was something really wrong. If he could have talked, he would have been telling me that he had seen THAT movie, and it's always the guy standing around who gets eaten. Izzy wanted no part of what was about to happen. I didn't either.
I didn't make it out to the barn on Monday, mostly because I knew that lamb was there, and I figured it wouldn't hurt to let everyone just cool their jets. When I showed up on Tuesday, Lamb was bleating as though the butcher was already on site. I tacked Izzy up, but all the while I was questioning my life choices. Izzy was vibrating, and his head was as high as it could go.
Thinking that he would settle down if he at least knew where all the bleating was coming from, I led him, or at least tried, to where the lamb is penned. Each step took a ton of coaxing. I finally persuaded him to go up to the fence surrounding the yard; the lamb is in a pen inside the yard. Lamb saw Izzy and leaped sideways. Izzy saw Lamb and also leaped sideways, dragging me with him.
Have you ever tried to turn a horse around when death is staring him in the face? You know how horses don't like to be facing away from danger unless they are bolting at a billion miles an hour? Yeah. I realized, too late, that I had made a very poor decision. We were standing on the cement driveway, and I needed to turn Izzy around so that we could get the heck out of the there.
The problem was that I didn't want Izzy to trample me as he spun around which was what he was trying to do. I put my arm out to keep him off of me, tucked my feet in, and slowly asked him to pivot. No way, Jose. He spun around so quickly that his hind feet did a literal burn out. I could smell the odor that came from friction. It had the same burning smell as when the farrier seals the bottom of the foot with a hot shoe.
Against my better judgement, I still tried to get in a ride. I figured Izzy would settle down once we got up to arena. I figured incorrectly. I spent 30 minutes trying to work on our relationship. We walked. We did turns on the forehand. We halted. We walked some more. And then we walked some more. After a half an hour, I knew that I was really pushing my luck, so we headed back to the barn where I again untacked in record time.
Yesterday, Lamb was still there, so I didn't even both trying to ride. I fed my boys, filled their water troughs, and listed to Lamb's sorrowful bleating. The horses seemed fine with the new noisy neighbor, but I wasn't about to test the waters.
Lamb or no lamb, I am going to try and get a ride in this afternoon. Wish me luck!
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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%: