From Endurance to Dressage
One of my favorite quotes is one that is attributed to John Wayne. I don't know that he actually said it, and I don't care because for me, truer words could not be spoken; especially when it comes to horses. The part of that sentiment that inspires me the most is the idea of saddling up anyway. With our smoke filled air, high heat, and daunting list of skills that Izzy needs to master before we can show at Second Level, I've been giving a lot of thought to saddling up anyway.
There have definitely been times when I have been scared to death - facing a hundred mile endurance race will turn most riders' knees to jello. Getting back on a horse who just used you as a lawn dart will also cause you to second guess your life choices. I can't stand fear though. Acknowledging that I am afraid of something presents me with a list of boxes that needs to be checked off, and an incomplete to do list brings out my OCD tendencies like nothing else. And so, I saddle up anyway.
Saddle up anyway means a lot more to me than just getting on when my horse is feeling particularly fresh or boisterous. Those words remind me that if I want to achieve my goals, I had better be willing to work hard even when it gets hard, especially when it gets hard. It's hot, it's cold, it's windy, he's going to be a handful, he can't, I can't ... SADDLE UP ANYWAY.
Being willing to saddle up anyway doesn't mean I am reckless or unrealistic. There are days when I know the conditions aren't safe. It might be too muddy, too hot, or I am simply too tired to be effective. I might be feeling too overwhelmed with work's stresses, or my body might be sore from something as simple as sleeping wrong or as complex as a sprained ankle. The thing is, it's important for me to be honest with myself about why I am not riding. It's okay to take that occasional day off, but for me, I know that the only way to achieve my particular set of goals is if I saddle up anyway.
It's not often, but there really are days that I just don't feel like it. I don't feel like having the same argument again. I don't feel like struggling with achieving the perfect connection. I don't feel like digging deep to get a crisp simple change. Those are the days when it's the most important to saddle up anyway. Because when I do, I get closer to achieving my goals, and then those tedious days, the ones that were so hard to work through, reveal themselves to be the foundation of success. Those are the days that got me to the finish line of that first hundred mile race, to a Bronze Medal, or just to that first USDF show.
Saddle up anyway; you'll be glad you did.
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%: