From Endurance to Dressage
All my life I dreamed of owning my own truck and trailer. Every single time I passed a truck and trailer motoring down the road, I stared longingly with envy, certain that the driver had to be the happiest human being on the planet.
When I was 29 years old, we bought Blue Truck, our second truck, but the first truck big enough to pull a trailer. A few months later we bought the trailer, a two-horse with living quarters. I really and truly thought I had died and gone to Heaven. I could not have been happier. The very first weekend that we had that trailer we went to the Sunland 50-mile endurance race. Having my own transportation meant I could go wherever I wanted, whenever I wanted.
My childhood dreams did not disappoint. Having a truck and trailer has been been just as awesome as I always imagined it to be. In the mid-2000s, my first trailer was stolen, so I replaced it with the model I have now, a Silverlite three-horse with living quarters.
That 2000 F250 Super Duty 4x4 with a Triton V-10 engine was still around though, doing her job with nary a complaint. The second trailer was bigger, but even at 15 years old, Blue Truck did her job. As you already know, last week I finally decided to trade her in for a younger model. A less likely to break down model. Something with a 100,000 mile bumper to bumper warranty.
When I told my students that I was trading in Blue Truck for a new truck, they laughed and said I should call the new truck, NEW TRUCK, because it rhymed with Blue Truck. Kids are funny. And often times right. Instead of New Truck, I shortened it to New T, or Newt.
While Newt is new to me, she's actually been around the block already. Newt is a 2019 model with only 22,000 miles on her. Buying slightly "used" saved me about $15,000. Newt is a Ford F250 6.2L Power Stroke Diesel. She has four-wheel drive, a crew cab (which seats 6), and an 8' long bed.
Before shopping for a new truck, I made a list of absolute must haves, things I wouldn't compromise on no matter what. On my list was a Ford F250 with a diesel engine. It had to be no older than 2018 and have less than 30,000 miles. It also had to have Blue Tooth, navigation, and a built in trailer brake. And I needed all of that for around $50,000.
Surprisingly, it didn't take me long to find almost what I was searching for, and actually, I got a lot more than I needed. Newt came with four-wheel drive, something I didn't need, but it's nice to have. Newt checked off all of the boxes except for one. There was no navigation system. Paso Robles Ford was interested in a sale though, so they got creative pretty quickly.
It turns out that replacing a Sync system without navigation for one with navigation is pretty simple to do. In fact, it only took a few hours. With the navigation installed on a 2019 F250 diesel with well under 30,000 miles, I signed on the dotted line. Since the navigation unit had to be ordered and installed, I asked that Paso Ford also arrange for the installation of the gooseneck hitch. I am super pleased with how that turned out.
The truck is now ready for hauling. The ball is installed and a wiring harness was also installed in the truck bed. The truck comes with the wiring for the plug at the bumper, but that doesn't work too well for gooseneck hitches, so now I have one installed in the bed itself.
Yesterday, I hooked up to the trailer. It took me a minute as I needed to get my bearings; Blue Truck had a short bed while Newt has a long bed, a difference of about two feet. After a few back and forths, I had everything lined up. I've been hooking up by myself for almost twenty years. Newt might be longer, but the process is the same.
After adjusting the mirrors and checking that the lights and brakes were working, I took the trailer for a short drive. All I did was drive the trailer out through the neighborhood and back, but that short little jaunt left me feeling quite impressed. I couldn't even feel the trailer back there.
After unhooking, I took Newt to the gas station and topped off the tank. Blue Truck's tank was around 25 gallons, but its fuel mileage was so poor that I had to get gas before I hit 200 miles. Newt's tank? It's HUGE! It will cost a fortune to fill it up, but at least I can get to a show and back without needing to stop for diesel. Twice. Sorry, Blue Truck. Your mph kind of sucked in your old age.
All that's left to do is actually go somewhere.
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
*** SCEC 10/15-16/22
2022 Completed …
(*) Tehachapi 5/22/22
(*) Tehachapi 7/24/22
(***) Tehachapi 8/28/22
2023 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
Qualifying Training Level
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%:
Score 1: 62.115%