From Endurance to Dressage
In fact, we hit the trail three days in a row! On the last day of 2013, I gave both boys a "day off" and simply hacked around the neighborhood. Sydney was very relaxed. The next day, the first day of the new year, Lousiana joined me for another ride. Since we started out in the afternoon, I schooled both boys in the arena before she got there. We then re-saddled and rode the neighborhood loop again, but this time we did the whole thing.
Since Lousiana had the week off, I invited her to join me for a real trail ride the next day, day 3 for Sydney. We trailered over to the Kern River, a three mile drive, and parked at the entrance to the Panorama Preserve (a section of the river set aside for trail riding and hiking).
Both horses were a bit fussy while we saddled, but we were right on the edge of the oil field and there is a fair amount of traffic. Once we entered the preserve, both horses settled down really quickly. Sydney was so brave that I spent the next two hours riding him almost entirely on the buckle!
We did a fair amount of single track trail that wound through the trees. We also crossed one of the bicycle bridges that can be pretty scary for most horses. Sydney strode across it confidently. We also plodded through deep sand, climbed small whoop-de-doos, and even rode alongside the river. Sydney was brilliant until we arrived at Rancho Rio (one of Bakersfield's largest boarding facilities with close to 200 horses).
As soon as he saw the stalls, he got rather anxious. The facility is huge, so we walked to the far end where the big arenas are situated. Louisiana held both horses while I hopped off to use the restroom. I really wanted Sydney to stand near the arenas since I hope to show him there in the spring.
By the time I got back on him, he was relaxed and walked happily back through the property and out onto the trail. We had hoped to cross the river and ride back on a completely different trail, but the city had just let water into the dry river bed from the canal, so the water was frothy and rushing. Neither horse wanted anything to do with it. I can't say that I blamed them.
We were still able to use a different trail for the way back, although it criss-crossed our earlier route. We were able to do a nice long trot alongside a wide section of the canal where Sydney was quite ratable and happy to slow when asked.
We crossed another one of the bicycle bridges, this time with Sydney leading. The trail after the bridge is as wide as a vehicle, but it has a steep bluff to the right and drops off sharply to the canal on the left. It can be a bit scary because when a horse spooks, there's nowhere safe to go but forward.
Sydney did spook pretty hard at some birds rustling in the trees, and he looked to the left, but my smart boy realized that forward was his best bet. He stopped immediately and waited for me to tell him what to do. For the rest of the ride, he was quite the happy camper.
It is obvious that Sydney enjoys trail riding. Unfortunately, I do work full time, and the "real" trails require a short trailer ride. I would really like to get out to the trails at least a couple of times a month, but Louisiana has taken a second job which makes her time limited. And truth be told, I am not sure that she really likes trail riding enough to spend her rare day off hacking through the trees. We'll see how it goes.
Either way, Sydney and Speedy had a great couple of days!
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%: