From Endurance to Dressage
Last week, while listening to Mike Rowe's podcast, The Way I Heard It (which is fascinating by the way), his guest made a comment that really made me stop and think. The guest, George 'Tyrus' Murdoch, is a regular on Fox News's late night program, Gutfeld. To be honest, I had never heard of Murdoch, I don't know who Gutfeld is, and I can't stay awake long enough to watch anything classified as "late night TV." It doesn't matter though because I enjoy listening to all kinds of points of view, especially so when they're expressed with logic and respect.
Anyway, what Murdoch said was this (and I am paraphrasing): Essentially, there are two kinds of people. The first are those who look outside of themselves for the cause of their hardships or the reason why things happen to them. They also look outside of themselves for solutions. The second type of persons looks within to understand how their own behavior has brought them to the point of wherever they may find themselves. They also look inward to make changes in an effort to change their circumstances. Guess which one I am?
I don't think one is better than the other. I am clearly one of those people who looks inward to figure out what I am doing wrong to cause whatever situation I find myself in. If something is going wrong, it is obviously my fault, and this is especially true when it comes to riding. If one of my horses isn't doing what I am asking, the fault always lies with me. I am not asking in the right way, my aids are unclear, my tension is getting in the way, and on and on.
The great thing about this way of viewing the world is that the solution can also be found within. If I make a change in the way I am riding, if I become better educated, if I seek heIp ... I have the power to fix things. There are pitfalls in living with this point of view though. If everything is my fault - Speedy's physical limitations come to mind, I will continue to look for a solution even if there isn't one. Speedy is one in a million, but even Charlotte Dujardin wouldn't be able to score a 90% on him.
Izzy is full of talent, but he also likes to be in charge even when he has no idea what the hell he is doing. It is difficult for me to admit that sometimes, I am doing all that can be done. During my lesson on Saturday - more on that tomorrow, Sean Cunningham, owner and trainer at STC Dressage, pointed out that in the particular instance of what we were talking about, I was already doing everything right; I just need to be patient. If I keep doing what I am doing, Izzy will get there.
I can't change which type of person I am, and even if I could, I wouldn't want to. Looking to myself for solutions means I have an excellent work ethic. It also allows me to get things done because as we all know, if you want something done right, do it yourself. I don't have to reply on a trainer to fix something. I don't have to wait until my horse matures. I don't have to wait on anyone or anything. If I want something to change, I simply have to take a long look at myself and ask, how can I do this better? And while it might not happen tomorrow, as long as it is possible - I am not making it to the Olympics no matter how hard I work, I can make it happen eventually.
That's an empowering way to live.
What a week, y'all. What a week. But hey, tired as I am, I am back in the saddle on a daily basis which is slowly filling up my cup of joy. Yesterday, both Izzy and I plodded up to the arena looking as though we were embarking on a death march. I looked at him, he looked at me, and we smiled.
Instead of boring, we shook things up a little by schooling walk-canter-walk, weirdly placed leg yields, and trot into the halt. By the time we finished, Izzy was fully engaged and showing me some of the fantastic potential that I know is in there.
I am grateful for the cooler weather, finally, and excited about some things that are coming up. Enjoy the weekend!
When I rode on Sunday, I finally dragged out my Pivo as has been my custom over the past year. The past few weeks had been so hot that recording my Sunday rides wasn't a priority, and it didn't seem like I would get worthwhile video under those conditions anyway what with horse and rider melting. As it so happens, I didn't get great video under better conditions either. I am still recovering mentally from the heat wave. At least that's my excuse.
I set my Pivo Pod up as usual, but things just didn't want to work right. With all of the new accessories, it is getting harder and harder to keep Pivo level.
When I went back to watch the recorded video, I was disgusted to see that for 90% of the video, Pivo had chopped off my head.
The only time that I was in the frame was when I rode this exact line. When I rode any further away, Pivo captured Izzy, but cropped me out of the frame. So today, you gets lot of photos of us riding back and forth.
I have to take the blame for this one. For the first time ever, I had Pivo pointed too low. Like most Pivo mistakes, this one was completely user error.
That's okay. There wasn't anything interesting to see anyway. The ride was just about reconnecting with Izzy and reminding him that I was there for him no matter what happened.
There was one blooper moment I wish I had been able to watch though ...
The theme continues ...
First though, technical problems here ... I had just written most of this post when Weebly decided I needed to log back in, so my page closed without the courtesy of auto-saving what I had spent 30 minutes writing. Here are the Cliff Notes instead.
For the entire summer, Izzy's poop has been fabulous even when we've trailered for trail rides, lessons, or shows. I have grown to love that heavy thud that follows his very disgusting grunts. The dude really enjoys a good bowel movement.
Ulcers are a tricky thing, and I am not sure that they ever heal up completely, but for the past 5 months, Izzy's tummy has seemed to feel pretty good. And as proof, his poop is looking and smelling healthier than ever. While I haven't given him any GastoElm lately, I still keep a bag on hand in case his poop once again goes splat. While I originally thought he needed some kind of a maintenance dose, it turns out that his body, with some initial support, has been able to take care of business without my interference.
If your horse has weird poop or is prone to an ulcery tummy, might I suggest GastroElm? While I probably kept Izzy on it for too long, it definitely helped his tummy heal up enough that he's no longer grouchy when being groomed or slightly lame on the left hind leg.
While his skin heals after our heatwave, at least I don't have to worry about his poop. His GI tract seems to have recovered.
You'll soon notice that there is a theme to this week's posts ...
Cooler weather? HAHAHA. Not funny, Mother Nature, not funny at all. I got to the ranch on Saturday morning so excited to ride in weather that was under triple digits. First of all, it may be hotter than Hades here in the summer, but it's a dry heat, at least that's we tell ourselves as we fry our eggs on the sidewalk. Second of all, for you people who live in wet heat, how exactly do you manage your goggles and snorkel under your helmets? I honestly thought I was going to die when I got to the barn. Yes, it was 85℉, but there was also 85% humidity (or so it seemed). Our ride entailed 10 minutes of walking followed by 4 trot circles. That was all either of us could muster.
Before riding though, I spent a solid half hour working on Izzy's coat. My poor horse. His skin simply cannot stand the heat. He is covered in deep scrapes and welts that he has given himself in an attempt to relieve his itchy skin. Year after year I have tried to find a remedy, but nothing works. Things were pretty good up until last week when the temperatures soared into the hundred and teens. As the temperatures come back down into the 80s, I am hoping that his skin can begin to recover. See what I did there? "Recover" is the theme for the week.
Weird skin or not, wet weather or not, I did get to ride. Of course, as we left the arena and headed back down to the tack room, the clouds lifted and the wind began to blow. The rest of the morning, while in the low 90s, was actually pretty pleasant. I definitely gave the weather gods a dirty look as I drove home. Aw well. The time wasn't wasted. Izzy and I spent a good hour together just reconnecting and hanging out. When I left, he was happily slurping up a sloppy lunch. He made it quite clear that he had enjoyed his morning.
Fall is just around the corner, and winter not far behind. Soon enough I'll be complaining about the cold.
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%
2022 Show Season
(r) Ride-a-Test Clinic
2022 Show Schedule
2022 Completed …
(*) Tehachapi 5/22/22
(*) Tehachapi 7/24/22
(***) Tehachapi 8/28/22
2023 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%:
Score 1: 62.115%