From Endurance to Dressage
I tend toward the dramatic even though I yearn for ho-hum. Why is it that I seem to be perpetually putting out metaphorical fires? My inner voice says I must actually thrive on the drama even though I don't think I do. Nothing terribly dramatic has happened, I am just in a funk. No need to panic; It doesn't last long, and I'll probably be over it before you read this.
The disappointment? frustration? melancholy? started last weekend. I wasn't able to get a lesson, but I felt really good about how I handled Saturday's ride and even my ride on Sunday. But then, each day's ride got a bit wonkier than the previous one. We had some really windy weather, and my arena is surrounded by cottonwood trees that shake and rattle in blustery weather. To top it off, the tree-lined side of the arena is lined with grass and weeds, so when it's windy, that fence line gives spooky horses all the cause they need to act up. And if all that isn't enough, it's also deeply shaded in the afternoon. It's basically a house of horror for the big brown horse.
For several days, I rode with patience and talked Izzy through his tension. By Wednesday, I realized his behavior wasn't due to the windy weather, or at least not all of it anyway. No matter how many of my shiny new tools I used, he just wouldn't play ball. He was braced through his poll and couldn't do a training level transition no matter how patient I was. I realized that I needed to call out our favorite chiropractor. I also cancelled this Saturday's lesson. What was the point? It didn't make any sense to work on anything when Izzy is sore.
This doesn't seem like a big enough deal to put me in a funk, but this horse is just tiring. I have never owned a horse who was so hard on himself. Without an adjustment at least every eight to twelve weeks, sometimes more frequently, he's just not rideable. I know that, and I have the chiropractor out as needed, but there are times - like this weekend, when the chiropractor is not available. We have a tentative appointment for this afternoon, but even if he can come, I haven't ridden since last Wednesday. Big deal, I know, but I was hoping to take Izzy to small show on Sunday.
If I am totally honest, the funk is partly to do with the fact that I have finally admitted that Izzy and I are never going to be as successful as Speedy and I were. I am disappointed. It's not a deal breaker though. I am becoming a much better rider than I ever would have been had Izzy been easy. It's a bit like the O. Henry tale, Gift of the Magi. The husband gives his wife a beautiful hair comb, but she has sold her hair to buy him a chain for the pocket watch he sold to buy the hair comb. In my version of the O. Henry tale, I am a much better rider, but I don't have horse who enjoys showing.
Hopefully the chiropractor makes it out today. If not, I doubt I'll bother with the show. Big sigh ...
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%: