From Endurance to Dressage
I know I've written about the weather before, but since it's so relevant to all equestrians, it's worth mentioning again. And besides, each season for riders is newsworthy!
Yep. It finally rained a measurable amount here in Bakersfield. I know most of you are thinking, BFD, it rains everywhere. Not here. At least not very often and not very much. Our (normal) annual rainfall is just over five inches. FIVE INCHES! Some of you get that much in a single day. In the last two days, it's rained nearly 20% of our annual total, just over 0.9 inches. It was impressive.
While I enjoy listening to the rain pound my rooftop, and I love how clean it makes our air, I love the rain for a reason entirely different from the fact that it replenishes our aquifers and reservoirs. And here it is: when it rains, I don't have to haul the sprinklers around our arena!
Boarding Heaven lies nestled in a river bottom so our soil is primarily sandy. Sand is great because it never really gets muddy. I think I've only seen standing water in our arena one time, and that was as it was pouring down rain last year. Rather than floating on top, the water simply percolates through the sand and joins the underground aquifer that stores Bakersfield's water.
While that part of a sandy arena is great, the downside is that dry sand is dusty and gets really loose. Loose sand is deep. I don't like deep footing. I would rather ride on hard packed clay than deep sand. So, I battle the loose sand by dragging a hundred feet of hose around with a giant Rainbird sprinkler attached.
The thing works great; it sprays a diameter of at least 75 feet, more when the pressure is super duper. The problem is that a hundred or more feet of hose is heavy, dirty, and wet. And worse, it takes a good 30 minutes everyday to properly soak the sand and keep the dust down. This time of year, I don't have 30 minutes; I have about 10.
Enter God's version of the Rainbird - two days of pouring rain!
But it gets better. Last weekend, my barn owner dragged the arena to smooth out the ruts I had carved out at A, V, and P. So when the rain started on Wednesday night, I gave a happy dance knowing that my freshly groomed arena was getting nicely firmed back up for this weekend, and beyond!
I was right. When I rode on Thursday and Friday evening, the footing was beautiful, although still a bit too wet to canter. When the sand is still freshly wet with the water laying just below the surface, it's easy to dig holes so I kept it to a trot. It should be absolutely perfect for today and tomorrow.
It looks just like a wet beach, doesn't it? Now if only I could hear the waves from here ...
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
*** SCEC 10/15-16/22
2022 Completed …
(*) Tehachapi 5/22/22
(*) Tehachapi 7/24/22
(***) Tehachapi 8/28/22
2023 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
Qualifying Training Level
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%:
Score 1: 62.115%