From Endurance to Dressage
A week or so ago I wrote about horse hair jewelry and how, initially, I found it creepy. After thinking about it, I decided that I liked the idea of a bracelet made while my horses are still alive. I am still waiting for it to arrive.
Lytha, from A Horse Crazy American in Germany, said something that really resonated with me. When she finds horse hair from her heart horse, Baasha, she feels a sense of nostalgia. I had a nice nostalgic moment myself the other week.
Ten years ago this week, I lost Montoya DSA, the best horse I will ever own. She was spectacular. Not only was she gorgeous, but that mare could do it all. She ate up the endurance trail with an appetite that knew no end. If you needed more, all you had to do was ask. I never found her maximum. I remember crossing the finish line at the Manzanita 75 miler to find a vet waiting for us. Her pulse, after riding 75 hard miles, was 36 beats per minute. Riding her was an absolute privilege.
Losing her to colic was hard. To this day it remains the most painful loss that I have experienced. I cried in bed for three days. But life goes on. I already had Speedy, whom I really hadn't connected with, but as soon as Montoya was gone, Speedy filled the hole. The very same day that we put her down, Speedy came up to me and rested his head on mine. He knew she was gone. I am not sure who was comforting whom.
It was really cold last week. Too cold for my regular long sleeved shirts and a vest. It wasn't quite cold enough to ride in a jacket, so I opted for a sweatshirt. If you're anything like me, you probably have of a big pile of sweatshirts from which to choose. I reached down to the bottom of the pile and pulled out one I haven't worn in at least 7 years, maybe more.
When I shook it out, I smiled. I had forgotten about this sweatshirt which surprises me because it was hard earned. On the front, both of our names embroidered.
On the back, you can see the event where it was earned, the Death Valley Encounter, 200 Miles in 4 days. The race was held annually for many years. It began on the 28th of December, culminating with a big party on December 31st, Near Year's Eve. My husband and I spent 6 days with our 2 labs living in a 2-horse trailer with pretty small living quarters. It was an extraordinary experience.
I wore the sweatshirt every day for a week. It's still sitting on my closet floor; used riding clothes get recycled before they're washed. I can't quite clean it and put it away. I like seeing it there.
Reminders. This one made my heart swell with love.
1/29/2020 05:56:44 am
Reading this made my heart so full my eyes got leaky....
1/31/2020 05:18:21 am
Aw, you know what those endurance mares are like. :0)
1/29/2020 08:40:38 am
I want more pics of Montoya! And history, pedigree, everything: )
1/31/2020 05:19:38 am
She was pretty special, Lytha. You can look her pedigree up. Her registered name was Montoya DSA. She's got some great Russian bloodlines, and not too far back are some desert bred ancestors.
1/29/2020 06:22:57 pm
Montoya was absolutely gorgeous, and sounds like she was an amazing horse. I am in awe of her mane!
1/31/2020 05:22:50 am
Thank you, Ashley. That mane was all her. I kept it mostly tangle free, but it nearly reached her knees! It was also super thick. I went through a lot of Cowboy Magic in those days.
1/31/2020 05:23:24 am
I like thinking about her, although I don't do it that often as it still hurts a bit. :0)
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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%: