From Endurance to Dressage
If I tried to carry a ladder, even a tiny one, into Speedy's stall and paddock, he would FLIP OUT. Izzy? I could barely squeeze the ladder past him.
I am sure you're wondering why I would even need a ladder in Izzy's stall; he's not THAT tall. Well, a few days ago, Izzy dug a hole. Not just a groove from pawing, but a hole that would have required a shovel and two hours worth of work had I dug it.
The first day, I filled it in and then took him for a long walk. The next day, the whole was re-dug, sitting there inviting a broken leg. Rather than fill it in, I decided to give Izzy something else to work on. He has two Jolly Balls, and I know he plays with them as they are on the outside of his paddock on most days. From photos that his previous owner shared, I know that he liked to play even when he lived in a huge pasture.
I brought the ladder in so that I could hang one of the Jolly Balls from the roof so that he couldn't kick it out of the paddock.
Once I had the ladder set up, he immediately came over to study it, but he was cautious. Had I left it there longer, I am certain he would have tried to pick it up and move it. I haven't shared this story yet, but a week or so ago I found a manure fork discarded in his stall. It's not one that we use regularly, so I was really puzzled as to who might have left it there. And really, no one at this barn would be so careless.
After looking around, I realized that none of us ever use that fork. I wasn't even sure where it had come from. Then I noticed that some of our sharper tools were not hanging on their hooks on the back of the tack room wall. The answer became clear: Izzy had reached over the partition and taken it off of its hook. The fence is taller than I am and the tools are hanging several feet from the edge of his stall.
Somehow, he not only grabbed the manure fork, but he also managed to get it over the fence and into his stall without hitting the roof of the barn or hurting himself. Even if I stood on the ladder, I wouldn't have been able to reach that fork and wrangle it over the wall!
Needless to say, all of the tools have been moved or lowered as well as all of the items within reach on the brown cabinet. You can see the fence and cabinet in the photo below but not the row of tools. Sydney was in this stall for three years and never even thought about reaching over.
As I was on the ladder, Izzy stood in the far corner watching me, but he wasn't afraid like most horses would be. There was no snorting as I slipped the rope over the rafter and swung the ball around testing it's length. I went up and down the ladder several times making adjustments while he watched in fascination.
I wasn't even out of the gate before he was rubbing his head all over that ball. I don't know that he'll be entertained enough to stop digging, but maybe it will give him something else to do while he heals.
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%: