From Endurance to Dressage
A month or so ago, a Facebook friend asked about trail riding, so I volunteered to set something up. I immediately texted my friend Wendy who, besides being a fellow dressage rider, also barrel races and trail rides - all with the same horse! It took a few stops and starts - finding a date where three horses and three riders are all healthy and sound can be difficult, but we finally met at Hart Park this past Sunday morning.
With Izzy still being body sore, I crossed my fingers and asked Speedy if he were ready. I had given him a good bath the day before and was pleasantly surprised by his energy level. He has always loved to go places, but I was worried about his fitness level. The loop we do is nearly eight miles, but it's flat, and even if he doesn't get ridden anymore, he lives turned out. Speedy and Izzy play hard nearly every day, so he keeps himself fit enough for light work.
I wasn't a hundred percent sure who I was going to ride until Sunday morning. I hooked up the trailer and then went to check on both horses. Izzy looked just fine, but I just didn't want to fight with him on the trail. He's not scary, and I don't worry about coming off, but Wendy and I were riding with someone who I've never ridden with, and I just didn't want to ruin her day. Speedy still looked quite interested, so I loaded him up.
Wendy arrived at the Barn first; Hart Park has a fabulous staging area for trail riding. Many years ago, the big barn was remodeled, picnic tables were installed, and corrals were built. The barn is really just for parties as it's not actually set up to house horses. The parking is somewhat limited, but three trailers fit easily. As I was pulling into the park, Wendy called letting me know that a bunch of trailers were already there. Yikes! She scoped it out though and determined that Lisa and I would be able to pull through without blocking the first group.
Horse people can be incredibly rude or incredibly polite. The gentlemen who arrived before us were the latter. They managed to park four or five trailers so far out of the way that we had no trouble parking. They headed out on the trail just before we did, and despite mentioning that we had food, we never saw them again.
The weather was a tad warm, but we were blessed with some clouds that kept the day quite pleasant. While Lisa is an accomplished reiner - Ruby showed us some pretty fancy moves, she had never done any trotting or cantering out on open trail before. Knowing that, and knowing that Speedy was pretty out of shape, we spent the first hour just walking and chatting.
Just before we got to the lake, we did do a small stretch of trotting, and from that point on Lisa was game on. We ended up trotting the entire back stretch of the lake. We threw in a bit of canter, but Ruby got a bit strong for Lisa's liking, so we kept it to a trot. From the lake back to the barn, we spent our time chatting and trotting when the footing was nice.
We finished the loop in about two and half hours. There were so many families at the park this time of year that we felt compelled to stop for every group of children and every family who wanted a photo. That tends to slow down the riding, but being good ambassadors for the equestrian community benefits us all. Once we got back to the barn, each of the horses got a cool shower - there's a wash rack at the barn, and a bucket of water. With all three horses resting comfortably, we dragged out chairs and a table and enjoyed chips and guacamole, meats and cheeses, pasta salad, and Wendy's famous chocolate chip cookies.
Given how blue I've been feeling, it was much a needed day. Many thanks to old friends and new!
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%: