From Endurance to Dressage
If you were to ask any Californian how they feel about the rain we've received this year, the answer would be this: Thank goodness because we need the rain, but it has been a royal pain in the butt! While most of the state is now "drought free" - we are never really drought free, it has come at a cost. The Kern River is flooding, and a lot of people are being affected.
A week ago California was buried under massive snow with frigid temperatures. This weekend we were hit with a monster warm front carrying an atmospheric river. Bakersfield lies below the Lake Isabella Dam, and so far, the release rate hasn't affected us. The river is swollen from the runoff below the dam, and it is running wide and deep, but at its worst, it will only flood the lower half of our pastures. Kernville is above the Isabella Reservoir. They haven't been as lucky. I have seen some interesting photos this past week. Because the river is icy cold, it is actually causing "steam" to appear as the exceptionally warm air just above the surface of the water is beginning to condense and form "clouds."
We live very near to the mouth of the canyon where the Kern River exits the mountains. We live on the south side of the river, and my horses live on the north side. The flooding won't affect us, but the rain does. Just about the time the footing dries out enough to ride, another wave of storms rolls through. First we had rain and mud, then Izzy had an abscess, then we had more rain and mud. Seventeen days had passed without me being able to ride. Finally, on Saturday, I was able to get in a "let me see how sound you are" type of ride.
It was in the high sixties with very humid weather, so even I wasn't exactly thrilled about working too hard. As it turns out, neither was my big brown horse. He was quite happy to walk and stretch down and even do a little trotting, but when I asked for a canter, he did everything but canter forward. He weaved, he bulged, he dodged, he quit, but cantering one circle was just beyond his ability. I eventually kicked him hard enough with my rubber boots to get one circle each way, but honestly, it would have been a lot easier on him had he just done the one canter circle when asked the first time. Nope. He has to make a big deal out of everything. He still hasn't figured out that my way is generally the easiest way.
Before tacking Izzy up, I turned Speedy out to enjoy the lush grass that is growing everywhere except the pastures and paddocks. Sometime during the week, before this most recent rainfall, Reggie worked the dirt in Speedy's paddock. The dirt under his shelter had been shored up so that any water would drain out. It was nice and dry under there which Speedy appreciated. He hates to step in the mud. Speedy and Dollar the stallion share a quarter acre with a fence down the middle. Their paddocks are the smallest of all of the horses' pastures which means everyone has somewhere dry to stand. Even with all of that space, Speedy still likes to get out.
The arena was mostly rideable on Saturday - a third was still too wet, but considering how much rain and snow California has received these past few months, I am grateful that my boys live somewhere where they can still get plenty of exercise and stay warm at the same time. We need the rain, but it is definitely a pain in the butt.
So says every other Californian.
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%: