From Endurance to Dressage
I go to the barn every day. I manage my schedule very closely so that I can do this. With two horses to ride and care for, I feel that an hour or two at the barn is necessary. It means that I have to get up quite early, and I have to run all of my errands over the weekend, but it's worth it.
After a weekend of showing and hanging out at the fair with hubby, I realized that I was a bit behind and needed a day off from barn chores to take care of house chores. I let RM know that I would not be at the barn on Tuesday evening. The afternoon was going well, chores were getting done, laundry was being laundered, and then the phone rang.
I can't help it. It's like the Bat Phone. When I see a call from The Barn, whichever barn, I grimace [sorry, RM, nothing personal!] I lost Montoya just hours after a barn call. I will forever worry when those calls come in.
RM informed me that Speedy wasn't eating dinner, which is extremely rare, and worse, he was pacing quite frantically at the end of his run and was covered in a layer of sweat and dirt. Uh-oh.
Hubby walked in the door as I was hanging up. Right away he knew something was amiss and offered to drive me out there. I was pretty thankful about his offer as I immediately wanted to throw up. I knew it was one of two things, and I hoped it wasn't colic.
As soon as we arrived at the barn, my heart sank even lower. Yes, Speedy was covered in sweat and his food was untouched. He whinnied at me and then nipped at his side while I watched. Completely dejected, I grabbed his halter, handed the lead to my husband, and placed my ear at Speedy's flank to listen for gut sounds. Speedy was calming down with my presence, and he stood still for the quick exam. His gut sounds were good, but he still seemed a bit off. With hubby still monitoring, I retrieved my stethoscope and thermometer in order to do a better metabolic diagnosis.
I re-listened to his gut sounds and still thought they were quite good. I took his pulse and was shocked to get only 36 beats per minute. That's nearly a resting heart rate, not the heart rate of a colicky horse who has been frantically pacing. The last check was his temperature. Again, it came out quite normal at 100.5 degrees. These parameters did not look like a horse who was colicking.
I sent hubby out into the arena to walk Speedy while I placed a call to Dr. B. I've blogged many times about how much I love my vet. I respect her expertise so much that I never give any medication without consulting her first. I thought about giving Speedy a bit of Banamine just in case he was showing the signs of a very mild colic. Even though it was her day off [sorry, Dr. B!], she took my call and listened as I described Speedy's "symptoms."
The longer we talked, the more relaxed and mellow Speedy got. After fifteen minutes or so of walking, she suggested we put him back in his stall and fix him his regular beet pulp/rice bran dinner and see how he reacted. I was instructed to call or text her after an hour with an update. I did as I was told.
As soon as Speedy heard the feed bins opening, he was back to normal. He started his feed me now song and got The Look on his face. You know the one. It's the one that says where have you been all day? I've missed you terribly and I am so glad you're going to feed my starving body.
Hubby rolled his eyes in disgust, and said, What a big baby! Yep. That about sums it up. Remember when I said I suspected his behavior was one of two things, colic being one of them? This was the other one. Without checking him out though, I didn't want to run the risk of being wrong.
Speedy is just a very attached pony. He truly is one of those Arabians who would have lived in the tent with his Bedouin family. He watches me at all times and knows exactly where I am. He looks for me in the afternoons and greets me quite enthusiastically when I arrive. He stops eating when I show up. He eagerly awaits the halter. He wants to play. He even notices when I leave.
This might be a problem. I literally can't be at the barn 7 days a week. And this crazed look for Karen behavior is new. He was always glad to see me at his last barn, but not to this level of anxiety. I can't be at the barn today. I've given RM some directions for how to soothe his anxiety should she see this again on Thursday evening. Let's hope it works. I certainly don't want Speedy to worry himself into a colic episode! So for now ... Speedy, Speedy, Speedy! Get over it buddy!
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%: