From Endurance to Dressage
I am back on a daily riding schedule. That's both a good thing and a bad thing. With a horse like Izzy, there's a fine line between just right and too much. He needs plenty of work to keep his energy level down and his brain busy, but depending on the kind of work, he also needs days off so that I don't over-face him. Right now, the kind of work I am doing is a bit corrective, so I decided to give him Wednesday and Thursday off. He had been worked for at least five consecutive days, so I knew he was due for a rest day.
I am really happy with how he's been working this past few weeks - we got a clean left to right flying change earlier this week, but I was beginning to feel some low level anxiety building. I also saw a few scattered sloppy poop piles. Those two things told me to back off just a bit. I worked late on Wednesday so both horses got a day of complete rest, not that Speedy needed it.
Yesterday, as always, I changed out of my work clothes whilst using my back seat as a changing room. I park right next to Izzy's sandy pasture, so he sees me kicking off shoes and doing other gymnastic work as I struggle into breeches and boots. He usually comes shambling over to say hello and beg for treats. He didn't do that yesterday. Instead he kept himself parked in his shady corner, lazily swishing his tail at a few flies. I made the quick decision to play with both horses instead of riding. I turned Speedy loose out in the big yard, and closed Izzy up in the grassy turnout in front of Speedy's paddock.
Speedy knows how to live. He immediately set to mowing the grass down as though he were being paid by the mouthful. He also took the opportunity to hang out with me and tell me about his day. Not Izzy. Despite having lots of perfectly nice grass underfoot, he sidled up next to his gal pal and spent a solid half an hour licking the hose, chewing the rake, and rubbing his face and neck on the fence. I can't take that boy anywhere.
While the boys enjoyed themselves, I parked myself in the grass and swiped through TikTok. I don't do much on social media, but a few minutes spent laughing at absolutely nothing always changes my outlook. Speedy is not a fan of TikTok, so he eventually ditched me in favor of checking out what might be be available at Izzy's place. He scrounged around in the feeder, checked out Izzy's roll spot, and then blasted past me when he realized I was about to kick him out.
Getting both horses back into their respective paddocks is always what I imagine herding cats must be like. Each horse is certain the other is getting something better. Eventually, Speedy was back where he belonged with his lunch bucket, but not before chasing Izzy out with pinned ears and a swishing tail. To my surprise, Izzy actually skedaddled, certain that Speedy meant it. It seems as though the pecking order has shifted. With some poking and prodding, I finally got Izzy heading towards his own paddock and his bucket of lunch. He is familiar enough with the routine that he now tucks himself in as long as I get him pointed in the right direction.
Sometimes, it becomes necessary to re-examine one's priorities. A day off seemed more valuable than another day of work.
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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%: