From Endurance to Dressage
Like I said on Monday, I am still learning about Newt. Every time I pull out my owner's manual, I discover some new option or feature that I didn't know Newt has. This weekend, I discovered some pretty good-to-know buttons.
Sitting smack dab in the middle of California's Central Valley, Bakersfield is flat. It's hard to test out a tow mode that holds a lower gear when you're driving on flat ground. I live on the east side of town though where the valley butts up against the very southern part of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. My husband suggested I haul up to the top of Round Mountain Road. He assured me there was a good spot to turn around up near the top. As it turns out, that spot was too muddy and bumpy, so I went further on up the road.
While two vehicles will fit across the road, it's pretty narrow, and there is no shoulder. Or better said, there's no useable shoulder. As I wound my way up the road, I started eyeballing even that questionable shoulder because I wasn't finding any kind of spot suitable to turn my 27 foot long trailer around. Not only is the trailer long, but Newt adds another 14 feet minus the 2 feet where the trailer is hitched. It's a lot of rig to just "turn around."
I eventually came to a driveway. I stopped in the middle of the road, which you can do when there is zero traffic, especially since I had reached the end of any buildable land. From that point on, the hills are dotted with nothing but oil derricks. I gave that driveway the stink eye, and made an executive decision: I was going to make a three-point turn.
Let me paint you a picture: a road barely wide enough for two cars, no useable shoulder, and what shoulder there was, was muddy, a down-sloping gravel drive way, and a driver who had only driven this truck and trailer combo around the block. Once. Two months ago.
As I took stock of the situation, best friend's voice rang in my ear, she can back that thing up a gnat's ass. And I did. It took a few back and forths, but within five minutes, Newt and I were facing downhill. I smiled smugly to myself, I love girl power, and headed back home, tow mode engaged.
Rather than just park and unhitch, I decided to pull up near the hose and give my trailer a quick spray wash. I've done this a zillion times. Once most of the sitting around for two months gunk was gone, I backed up to my parking spot. Or at least I tried to. I realized that I was hitting the gas, but my truck wasn't moving. For a moment, I panicked, certain that I must have backed into the hedge. I jumped out to take a look and realized that both truck tires were planted deep in the marsh that had formed around the leaking spigot.
I shook my head and could only laugh. Just a few days before, I had asked my husband a question about engaging Newt's 4-wheel drive. Blue Truck had 4 wheel drive, and back in my endurance days, I used it with some frequency. It had been close to 10 years since I had used it though. While perusing my manual the day before, I had done a quick verification that Newt's 4 wheel drive worked the same as Blue Truck's.
With no shift on the fly, I hopped out and locked the hubs in place, clicked the knob to 4-low, and gave it some gas. Newt popped out of the mud with ease. Rather than press my luck, I drove around instead of backing up.
The moral of the story is that I can only back it up a gnat's ass. Any wider than that, and I am SOL.
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%: