From Endurance to Dressage
The hip bone's connected to the back bone
I was in a dark funk over the ride I had on Izzy on Monday afternoon. I just couldn't figure out where my sweet (but sometimes sassy) horse had gone. He was pretty much unrideable on Monday. And while I wanted his angry attitude to be about the weather, I had a feeling it was more than that.
I was actually grateful that I had to work late on Tuesday because I just didn't want to show up to find a lame horse. If you'll recall, lame horse equals dead horse in my version of crazy horse lady. When Wednesday rolled around, my funk was total and complete. Nothing went right that day. I hit every red light, food tasted sour, and every part of my body was sore and achey.
As hard as it was, I shoved the anxiety down deep and faced the what's wrong with Izzy issue head on. I followed my regular routine: I turned on the sprinklers, filled feed buckets, tossed Izzy his timothy, and told Speedy he'd get his turn in a few minutes.
I put Izzy in his rope halter and snapped on a lunge line. If he was lame, I wanted to see it rather than question whether I felt it or not. I asked him to start off with a walk, but as on Monday, he hollowed his back, jerked his head up and practically hissed at me. He finally walked around me when asked, so I moved on to the trot.
It was nearly impossible to tell if he was off because he would not trot. If he did make it a few steps, I couldn't see anything because his whole body was twisted and crooked. And after one or two trot strides, he flung himself into a bucking gallop. Eventually I shortened the line to about ten feet so that he had to trot. I couldn't see an obvious lameness.
I patted him, even though he was being a real jerk, and asked him to go the other way. To the right, he was more willing to trot, but it was slow and equally as crooked. Since he fell a week and a half ago, there hasn't been a single day of filling or heat, so I don't think he's lame from a tendon or suspensory injury. He is quite obviously sore though from his poll, down his neck, and into his withers and back.
I put him back in his stall and called my chiropractor. He'll be at the barn this afternoon.
After some reflection, I started remembering how Izzy behaved last May and June. Back then, he went through a really nasty few days where he was so tight in the back that it felt like he was lame. I called the chiropractor back then and saw immediate improvement afterwards.
The instant I realized what was probably wrong with Izzy, my funk lifted. I think the real problem was that I was concerned that this new and cranky horse might become my regular horse. Having a logical explanation for his behavior relieved me of my anxiety.
I can only guess, but I think what has happened is that after he fell he had four days of turn out with no under saddle work. That probably helped relieve some of his soreness. Then I rode him on Saturday where he was his normal self. On Sunday, he gave me a fabulous ride, but I did feel a few hitchy strides which I thought came from him trying to break into the canter. The third day that I rode him, Monday, was probably the straw that broke the proverbial camel's back.
He was probably mildly sore on Saturday, but by Monday (and even yesterday), mildly sore has become really sore. I don't think he's broken, and he probably has a low pain thresh hold, but I am pretty sure we'll get him fixed up this afternoon. I have a great chiropractor.
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%