From Endurance to Dressage
So where were we? Oh, yes, Kern County had just been rocked by one of the biggest earthquakes in recent memory, and the neighbors were busy shooting off illegal fireworks the day after the 4th of July.
I've lived in California my whole life excluding being born in Alaska - my dad was in the army and stationed at Fort Wainwright in Fairbanks, and living abroad my senior year of high school. Earthquakes are just a thing. No one worries about them, and in fact, they generate a lot of excited buzz when one happens.
This one, this earthquake? It was HUGE. Unless you live in a cave, you've probably seen the video clips of water sloshing out of pools (ours looked like Fatty McFatso had just done a ginormous cannonball), cracked roads, and fires burning. We didn't just feel it, we braced ourselves against the wall and waited ... and waited ... and waited some more for the earth to stop heaving and rolling.
We knew it was a big quake. A few weeks ago, we felt a 3.4 quake with an epicenter immediately below us. That was weird. I was riding Izzy during the 6.4 quake that happened on July 4th and didn't feel a thing. This one though, we felt it, and since we felt it in Bakersfield, 80 miles from Ridgecrest, we knew it had to be colossal. We were right.
About 30 minutes after Friday night's earthquake, I got a call from the ranch owner telling me that Speedy was in trouble. I threw on a pair of boots and hustled out there. Before I even made it to his paddock, I stopped by the feed room for a tube of Dormosedan that I'd been saving for an emergency.
The ranch owner had Speedy's halter in hand, but she hadn't been able to get close to him. I couldn't blame her. It was pitch black, and Speedy was simply terrified. Whether the earthquake had started the panic attack or not, the fireworks coming from across the river were driving it. Speedy bolted past me without even glancing my direction. Little by little I was able to affect his direction of flight until he suddenly noticed me. I quickly threw my arms around him and slid the halter on.
He body was dripping a sticky, foamy sweat, his eyes were rolling about frantically, and the veins stood out in his neck. We moved him away from his paddock to the hay barn where I quickly shoved the syringe of Dormosedan under his tongue. It's a sublingual sedative that takes about 40 minutes to work.
We pushed Speedy to the back side of the barn where two of the ranch's senior citizens live. Speedy is great friends with Pixie and immediately let some of his tension go when he saw her. I grabbed a hose and started spraying him off hoping to cool him down as well as distract him. I tossed him a flake of hay and stood chatting with the ranch owner as Speedy's terror slowly dissipated.
The ranch owner moved Pixie and Archie to the grass pasture immediately adjacent to their dry lot so that Speedy could spend the night near them and away from the fireworks. The Dormosedan began to work much more quickly that I had expected, so within a half an hour, Speedy's head was hanging.
By that time, the ranch owner had headed back to the house, and I was left to sit with my sedated snowflake. I eventually worried about how heavily sedated he appeared to be. I didn't want him to fall over, so I ran back to the feed room and grabbed my stethoscope. Public Service Announcement: if you don't yet have one, get yourself one and practice using it. Every few minutes I took Speedy's pulse. He clocked in at a slightly elevated 44 beats per minute (32 - 36 bpm is the normal resting rate for most equines). Once he found some hay scraps, it jumped to 52 bpm which actually made me feel better because it only spiked a few extra beats.
Dormosedan lasts anywhere from 1 - 3 hours. After about 90 minutes, Speedy began perking up enough to wander around, sniffing out hay. I had tossed most of it to Pixie and Archie (sedated horses really shouldn't eat or drink), but there was a pile up near the fence in front of which Speedy settled himself. By that time, it was 11:00 p.m., I felt it was safe to leave him. The fireworks had passed, he had taken a long drink of water, peed, rolled, and was now hungry.
I went to bed hoping that Saturday morning would bring an end to Operation Bubble Wrap. It did not. To be continued yet again ...
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%: