From Endurance to Dressage
My First Pony - Part 2
Me and Sunny with my trophy, sash, and a tiara that you can't quite see.
Sunny came home with me, and my life as a horse person began. I will be forever grateful to my dad for forcing me to be the person responsible for the care of my first horse. He doesn't know what a wonderful gift he gave me. I was given the opportunity to learn about equine care completely on my own. No one told me how much to feed, when to have shoes done, how to worm, or even if my tack was right. Or, at least that's how it felt. I know that my step-mom hovered in the background making sure that I didn't starve, mistreat, or neglect Sunny. But once she could see that I really was committed to this horsey life, she let me make my own way.
I read every book and magazine that I could find. I researched hay prices and teamed up with people to have it delivered by the truck load to save money. I bought in bulk when I could, and took great care not to waste feed. True to my dad's word, I did have to pay for everything. He helped me find a job where I worked eight hours every single Sunday at a local Mom & Pop diner. I made enough to buy hay, grain, shoes, wormer, and the tack that I needed. My step-mom still laughs at the "account" I kept on the refrigerator door showing how much money I owed my dad. I usually couldn't afford to pay for the whole ton of hay, so I would borrow from my dad and pay him back each Sunday with the cash I made in the diner. It seemed that as soon as I had one ton paid for, it would be just about time to buy the next one.
Riding down Main Street
One of my all time favorite memories with Sunny was the summer I ran for Garberville Rodeo Queen, and won. It was the real deal: tiara, sash, parade, rodeo. It still ranks as one of my all-time favorite horsey days. Riding down Main Street on my sparkling pony, leading my "court," - it seemed to be a scene out of the many horse books that I read as a kid. Part of the Rodeo Queen's duties were to actually go to the rodeo and ride in the grand opening. The queen's name is announced and she does a victory gallop while all the other rodeo contestants hold the line in the arena's center. Are you kidding me? I get to do what? I truly could have died on that weekend and would have felt as though my life had been worth living.
Sunshine was an outstanding first mount. She taught me a lot about not falling off, which I did many, many times. She also taught me that horses cinched up too tightly nip their owners. I also learned to pull my knees in tight around tight corners, and that the view from between two furry ears can't be beat. Sadly, Sunshine suffered a small bone break in her fetlock during a morning canter and had to be euthanized. Her final lesson for me was the one about loss.
After Sunshine, there many other horses: Nakota, Gideon, Corky, Sassy, Montoya DSA, Mickey Dee, and of course, G Ima Starr FA, also known as Speedy G. Each of them has their own unique story to tell. I hope you'll come back to hear them.
6/29/2011 12:25:23 pm
Loved it! Your story made me cry...and I'm not even sure why! Whatever else may happen in your life, you always know that you're "royalty"!!
6/29/2011 12:37:11 pm
Judy - not that I meant to, but when I re-read it this morning, it brought tears to my eyes, too! Don't know why either! I hope Dad "liked" it! It was meant to be complimentary. :0)
6/29/2011 12:49:05 pm
Karen, had to come back on and read the second part of the Sunny story to your Dad. He enjoyed it too. It made him laugh instead of cry like me, (Dad's are like that) but he does remember all the weekends the two of you sold tickets together and what a beautiful "Queen" you made!! XO
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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%: