From Endurance to Dressage
Fire Mountain 50 Miler, 2006
I eventually began taking Mickey to endurance races. He had learned to stand tied at the trailer and as long as I wasn't away for too long, he trusted that I would come back. My living quarters trailer at the time had a sliding window that I could open and lean out of. He would eagerly look into the window to make sure that I was close by. I took him camping over on the coast many times and rode many conditioning miles.
Some years later, Mickey developed a slight lameness at the extended trot. This is career ending for an endurance horse. I took him to Alamo Pintado, one of the best equine hospitals in the country, for a diagnosis. The fat pad between the joints in his fetlock was wearing away. This injury is caused by repetitive motion, like sustained trotting. I had to face the fact that while he couldn't continue as an endurance horse, he was plenty sound enough as a trail horse. At the time, I couldn't see beyond the endurance world and had no interest in trail riding or in any other discipline. I couldn't afford to keep a horse that wasn't competing, but I felt an obligation to be sure that he had a good home. As difficult as it was, I decided to sell him.
Camping at Montana de Oro
I spent a year reconditioning him into a trail horse. Endurance horses look at the trail differently than the average trail horse. Endurance horses know that their job is to get down the trail quickly. There's not a lot of walking and there is no ambling. Mickey had to learn to stop and smell the roses. He also had to learn that someone other than me was now going to be riding him. That scared me. I didn't know if someone else could ride him, especially someone looking for a quiet trail horse. Fortunately I had friends that helped me out and we discovered that he was a perfect gentleman for other riders. Once I started to look at him as someone else's horse, I realized what a great horse he had become.
I listed him for sale on various sites and sent the word out. I was very honest about his shortcomings as I wanted his new owner to be happy with him. I wasn't in any hurry to sell him and decided that I would trail ride and enjoy his company as long as it took to find the right owner. It took many months, but I finally found his next owner. Or more truthfully, Mickey found her. Much like he did with me, Mickey spotted the woman and chose her on the spot. He also liked her husband. While the woman was grooming Mickey, her husband whispered to me that his wife had cried just looking at his sale photos. That's how much she had connected with him.
As they drove away the day before Thanksgiving, I asked her to keep in touch. She didn't, but I trust that Mickey Dee made a good choice in his owner. I think about him often and wonder ...
The End ...
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%: