From Endurance to Dressage
I really love my two boys. They're not perfect, but they are pretty cool dudes. Aberdeen came over on Saturday and we trailered out to the river for a two hour trail ride. I always forget how much I enjoy hitting the trail.
Both boys loaded up with their customary ease and unloaded just as pleasantly. Sydney still gets a bit tense backing out of the trailer, but he manages to get the job done. Tacking up was a bit wild and woolly as both boys were feeling fresh and excited to be working somewhere new.
Sydney kept nipping at my shoulders, something he does when he's feeling anxious. He doesn't use his teeth, but he likes to grab me with his lips. I just patted his neck and puttered around as if this was our every day routine. Speedy needs some TLC as I girth him up as he still panics when the girth is tightened. It's an ongoing issue, and one which I am managing, but it makes things a bit hectic when both boys need mothering at the same time.
Within no time though, both horses were saddled. We walked through the trail head fencing and got on at the bottom of the hill. Sydney was quite the looky-lou and his body was pretty tense, but he slowly released the tension and finished the ride completely on the buckle.
We rode through the trees along the river trying to stay in the shade as much as possible. I was so pleased with Sydney. He wanted to be in the front and managed to do most of the weird places all on his own. There were a few times that Speedy needed to go first, but as soon as Speedy offered a forward step, Sydney was right behind, bravery resurfacing.
We even rode through some very narrow trail that has a canopy of trees just over our heads. For a tense horse, the closed in aspect of the trail can be very claustrophobic, but Sydney took it in stride without a single mis-step. At the half way point, we got off to give the horses a quick break in the shade while Aberdeen checked out Rancho Rio's arenas.
We took a different trail back, and even let the horses pick up a canter over an undulating and winding trail. Speedy offered a few bucks, but Aberdeen just laughed through them and kept his head up. What I most appreciated about Sydney was that as soon as I asked for a return to walk, he was on the buckle without any need to hurry. In fact, we walked along a bit and then picked up another canter.
Our river has fairly steep sides and is pretty brushy along the way so it's not easy to get down to the water's edge. We finally found a spot though so we took the horses down for a drink. I had to get off to coax Sydney to the water's edge, but once I was on the ground, he happily stepped in and got a long drink. And then of course he kept going and tried to pull me in.
Once we were back at the trailer, we untacked and offered both horses fresh water. They must have tanked up well enough in the river because neither of them was interested. They hungrily dug into their beet pulp though while we let them cool off before driving back home. It's only a ten minute drive to this trail head, so the lunch break was just to give Sydney a chance to stand tied at the trailer to show him that good things happen there.
Speedy was once again a perfectly well-behaved pony. He loves getting out to do different things so I know this trip was very good for his brain. It makes me proud to know that I've helped him become such a model equine citizen, and it's fun to watch someone else ride and enjoy him. I know Aberdeen misses her own horses and wants them to be here, but she's welcome to ride Speedy in the meantime. I know he enjoyed her company!
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%: