From Endurance to Dressage
That's NOT me; that's Homer Simpson.
For those of you that aren't regular readers, I got dumped pretty hard in May at a show and hit my head. If you'd like to read about it, click here.
I was pretty sore for a few days, but I didn't go to the doctor since it was really just a bunch of bruises and nothing felt broken. My neck was pretty sore, but it got better each day and after a week, it didn't hurt anymore. Without a medical degree, I couldn't be 100% positive, but I was pretty certain I had sustained a whiplash (Cervical acceleration-deceleration).
Two weeks ago I met with Tina Hoover, a saddle fitter, and had my saddle's flocking adjusted. The saddle was riding too high in the front on Speedy G so she adjusted it so that it would sit lower in the front. Within two rides on the saddle, I developed moderate neck pain. By Friday, I had non-stop neck pain accompanied by a pretty decent headache. I called the chiropractor.
I love my chiropractor. If you live near Bakersfield and need a good chiropractor, Dr. Brendan Bradley is your guy (661-617-6160). He is beyond awesome. I probably like him so much because each time I see him he first asks how my life is going and then he wants to know which horse has done what to me. This visit was no exception.
I explained the fall from Speedy and the later saddle adjustment. His look of concern made me worry that my earlier decision to not see him right away was a mistake. Given the injury site, he felt that an X-ray was prudent. As soon as he flicked on the backlight, even I could tell that my neck wasn't right. No wonder it hurt!
And no, that's not me up above! If I hadn't been so worried about my neck, I would have snapped a photo of my X-ray. Dr. Bradley would have thought it funny!
The X-ray showed several vertebrae that were definitely out of alignment. Dr. Bradley confirmed that what he was seeing was classic whiplash. I also complained that my right leg was feeling shorter than usual. He explained that being shorter on one side is also typical of a whiplash.
The adjustment was painful, but I am a bit of a baby when he has to do my neck. The instant the adjustment was done, my neck felt so much better. The headache also disappeared, and after a quick check, he determined that my right leg was now even with the left.
I asked him why my neck didn't hurt until just recently. He thought it was highly possible that the adjustment on my saddle was enough to alter my spine's position in such a way that those vertebrae that were already mis-aligned really started to complain.
When I rode in the saddle the next day, I was able to drop the right stirrup down a hole, and I felt that I could sit deeper in the saddle.
Moral of the Story: if you get your saddle adjusted to fit your horse, you might also need to get yourself adjusted to fit the saddle!
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%: