From Endurance to Dressage
I love farrier day; it's almost as good as filling up the barn with hay. Or leaving the feed room stocked with feed bags. Or even walking away from a clean stall. Taking care of our horses provides plenty of opportunities for feelings of satisfaction. That's what I love about Farrier day; it's a fresh start.
My boys are done every six week without fail. And sometimes I try to get them done at five and a half weeks. Whether it happens or not, I don't like the thought of dramatically changing my horses's hoof angles. I am pretty sure it takes more than six weeks for them to feel the difference, but I am not taking any chances. Silly, I know. Even so.
Izzy's feet aren't at all complicated. Not much happens to his feet. Speedy, on the hand, is a bit trickier, although my farrier would disagree. Speedy is barefoot all around, and frankly, he almost doesn't need to be trimmed. He keeps his feet pretty evenly worn down just by walking around his paddock every day. With his proclivity for abscesses though, I like my farrier to keep a close eye.
When the farrier texted yesterday morning that he would get my boys done that morning, I asked him to check out Speedy's left front for signs of an abscess. He assured me that they would dig it out if they saw anything (he always has a helper). He agreed to text me if they found anything. I completely forgot about it until I arrived at the ranch later in the day and saw hoof trimmings on the ground. No text must have been good news.
I scraped out all of the mud from Speedy's hoof, the one that had had an abscess, and saw that it looked good with no drainage hole. I took him into the grass to graze (and clean his feet on the wet grass) and then I trotted him out on the long dirt track just outside the pastures. His trot out was big, bold, and too quick for me to keep up. As he dragged me along, I tried to watch for a head bob, but he was simply too eager to move out for me to keep up.
I ended up trotting him out several times, and not once did I notice even the slightest of a head bob. Until I see something that proves otherwise, I am calling this abscess resolved. It only took seventeen days.
Speedy should be good to go for a lesson this Saturday.
Sometimes, we just need to laugh and quit taking ourselves so seriously. And when I say we, I mean me. Yes, the world has gone insane. Yes, I have a complicated horse that I don't ride all that well. No, none of that is going to change. So today, rather than trying to figure out how to solve one more problem, let's laugh about the world instead.
Now that that's over, back to real life!
On Monday, Speedy's newest girl came out for a ride. Speedy's abscess hasn't cleared up 100%, but he was sound enough for a trail ride. This horse loves to play so much that a short trail ride is better than most any other medicinal thereapy. On Friday, I had reapplied a fresh poultice and then turned him loose to graze. Instead of grazing quietly while nursing his tender toes, Speedy gave me the look, flipped his tail up, and gaily cantered off down the dirt track to the west of the pastures. When he reached Izzy's end of the fence, he saucily spun around and did an extended trot past me as if to say I still got it!
With a bit of adreniline coursing through his veins, he wasn't a bit off. In fact he looked pretty darn good. By Sunday afternoon, Speedy was sound at the walk and only grade two lame at the trot. I messaged Brooke and asked if she wanted to do a trail ride. She happily agreed; it didn't matter to her whether it was a lesson or a trail ride. She was happy to have any horse time.
With the weather threatening to turn sour at any time, we opted for an earlier ride rather than later. As it was, by about 2:00 it stared to pour, so we chose wisely. I rode Izzy before Brooke came out, and I was pleasantly surprised. I had read on some Facebook page something about fiddling with one's hands - that even a little is too much, so I rode with that intenion in my mind. Every time Izzy braced or popped his head up, I resisted the urge to pull his head back into my atmosphere and instead put my leg on. It's amazing what correct riding can accomplish.
I finished my ride on Izzy just as Brooke was arriving. I tied Izzy up and pulled Speedy out for Brooke to groom and tack up. While she has ridden as a kid and adult both, it has been a decade or so which means she's a little rusty. It doesn't help that I like things done just so. Brooke is still working on mastering the Blocker Tie ring, and the girth for a dressage saddle can be a bit overwhelming with all of its keepers and buckling system. This time, she asked if she could take some photos to serve as a reminder. That's a girl after my own heart.
My plan for the ride was to first circle the ranch. If anybody was going to come off - that included me as well, it would be a lot easier to deal with a loose horse and a potentially sore rider if we were still on the property. As it turned out, Izzy was such a jerk that after circling once, I jumped off, ran into the tack room, and grabbed a whip. We ended up doing a second loop before heading out onto the nieghboring properties.
Izzy never really did straighten up, but I know Brooke enjoyed herself despite his Tom foolery. The first time we made the loop, we startled the horses next door who were in a three-sided, run-in shed. The pinto popped out which scared the bejesus out of Izzy who spooked which startled Speedy. I gave a laugh as both Izzy and Speedy shot forward as though the starting bell at the track had just rung. To her credit, Brooke sat the spook quite well and had Speedy stopped within a single stride.
Hearing her laugh made me feel a lot better about venturing off the property. Speedy is rock solid in the arena, but out on the trail he can be much spicier. The day was blustery with dark clouds hovering as they threatend to let loose their moisture. It was perfect weather for spooking and shying, both of which Speedy did. On our way headed back home, he saw some black weed blocking cloth flutter in the wind. I heard Brooke give an audible oomph as Speedy slammed on the brakes.
Later as we crossed a natural channel that feeds the river on really wet years, Brooke gave a delighted whoop as Speedy tried to launch as he crested the top of the channel. He has always enjoyed the down and up whoop de doos. Sometimes he gets particularly excited which can be a bit scary when he launches on the uphill side. Knowing he was feeling quite sassy, I had both horses enter the wash at a diagonal and then we turned at the bottom to climb back up at another diagonal approach. I didn't feel much like hitting the dirt either.
We finished up right at the forty-five minute mark. After untacking, I checked out Speedy's poultice. It was mostly still on, but after closer inspection I decided to pull it and rewrap it. As I did. he yanked his foot back with an irritated expression. Once I got all of the Numotizine cleared out, I could see that a bunch of Numotizine was matted in his fetlock hair, the more I pulled the more annoyed he became. After using my fingers, a comb, and the scissors, I realized that what he needed was for all of the hair to be cut away so I pulled out my clippers. What I saw was the very tiny beginning of a bandage rub. Sometimes the "cure" causes a new set of issues.
After putting the hoof testers back on and not getting a reaction, I decided that after fourteen days, it was time to let nature take its course. I opted to leave his foot naked with no more poulticing. The poultice had done whatever it could do. He walked off just fine without any obvious soreness. The tiny bit of soreness that he had shown might even have been from the gunk matted in his fetlock hairs combined with the beginnings of the bandage rub. I felt confident that he was just fine.
For now, Brooke is scheduled to come back out on Saturday. I know Speedy will be happy to see her.
On Saturday, my friend Jen and I attended the California Dressage Society's New Test Symposium. I should add that neither Jen nor I were really interested in the changes to the tests because I am not really "showing," and Jen has a young mare that she's not showing yet either. That being said, it was a great event for people who are showing.
The symposium was the Saturday portion of the three-day annual meeting. The keynote speaker was Michael Osinki, who is on the USDF National Test Change committee. The rest of the panel was made up of Hilda Gurney - two time Olympian and USEF "S" judge, Melissa Cresswick, USEF "S" judge, and Janet Curtis, also a USEF "S" judge. The demonstration riders were local professionals including Amelia Newcomb riding Kensington at Fourth Level and Natasha at Grand Prix.
What was most interesting about the symposium was that while one of the judges described the movement, another judge scored the movements aloud with the comments that would have been written on the test. In this way, we could hear the expectation of the test while also hearing the score at the same time. I expected a lot of 7.0s and 8.0s, of which there were plenty - these are professionals after all, but there were also 6.0s, spooks, and misses. When that happened, the judge simply asked the rider to circle and show the movement again. There were even moments when the judge would coach the rider through the movement several times until it was shown to the judge's satisfaction.
Since the Equidome is so large, numerous vendors were set up on the midlevel. There was also a refreshment table with muffins and other snacks. The Annual meeting is also an opportunity for each chapter to put together baskets which are then auctioned off. Some of them were spectacular, particularly my own chapter's. Sorry about the lack of photos, but I was too busy being in the moment. I did place a bid, but we left early and I didn't get a message so I am pretty sure I didn't win.
With the symposium going on and horses and riders dressaging, Jen and I used the time to catch up on each other's lives. In between the chatting - quietly and away from the crowds, a particularly fancy horse, or a botched movement, would catch our eye and we would tune in. We also spotted old friends and chatted with them about their latest projects or successes. While the event was very educational and well presented, I didn't feel too guilty about not tuning in. Being with friends, having lunch, and shopping for stuff I wasn't going to buy did more for my happiness than watching shoulder-in, renvers, and expressive changes ever could.
Being immersed in the horse world with friends was a pretty fulfilling way to spend a Saturday.
I swore I was just going to post photos as this post is very self explanatory, but you know me; I always have something to say.
Five years ago, I bought a pair of Dublin River Boots. Oh, how I pined for those boots.
It's rare that something longed for lives up to the amount of yearning spent in the wishing. In this case, it was money well spent.
I have loved those boots even more than I longed for them. Recently, the soles of my beloved boots suffered a pretty catastrophic fail. While they're still wearable, they won't be for long.
For Christmas, I received a very welcomed gift card to our favorite online retailer, the Riding Warehouse. That gift card barely made the flight home. In no time at all a brand new pair of boots were on their way.
This time around, I bought the Dublin Pinacle II's, and they are even nicer than my first pair. They run $184.85, but with my trusty discount, they were $157.21 plus tax. With my gift card, they were nearly free.
They say money can't buy happiness, but as every equestrian knows, that's a lie.
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%: