From Endurance to Dressage
Speedy's New Normal
Oh, that makes me laugh. Nothing is normal with Speedy. That boy makes me and everyone around him march to his own personally selected drummer. Even the drummer gets told what tune to play.
While I mostly adore Speedy, he is also the most infuriating equine I've ever owned. He is nearly impossible to please, yet he'll do anything that I ask of him. Believe me, doing Third Level dressage was never anything I even considered when I bought him in December of 2007 - more than 11 years ago (I missed his Gotcha Day). And yet, here we are.
While he may call most of the shots around here, I am putting my foot down for now. The "separation" anxiety is really just a temper tantrum. Speedy is perfectly fine by himself at shows or standing by the tack room out of sight of his friends. What he doesn't like is that Izzy is getting me all to himself while he is being left behind.
Yeah, yeah, yeah ... I may be anthropomorphizing a bit, but not by much. Speedy is wicked smart, and his feelings get hurt pretty easily. So, I am going back to an old method I've used to halt the whirling and pacing.
A few weeks ago I hung one of my Blocker Tie Rings, one of my all-time favorite gadgets, in Speedy's paddock. If you aren't familiar with the tie ring, it's a small "clip" through which you can loop your lead rope. If a horse pulls back, or gets caught on something, he can pull back, and the rope slides through the ring. It has three settings of "firmness." Speedy always gets tied with the loosest setting as he never challenges being tied up. Izzy gets tied on the middle setting as he has learned that steady pressure on the rope will also allow him to walk away, unchallenged.
While it adds yet one more step to my busy schedule, Speedy now gets tied up when Izzy gets ridden. Last night, he hollered a few times, but it was of the pathetic ... waaaahhhhh kind. When I brought Izzy back to his own dry pasture, Speedy was standing there calmly giving us both the stink eye. He knew the jig was up; at least until he can think of a way to outsmart me.
The worst I've ever seen him do while being tied to a patience pole was to rear up ever so delicately and stamp his feet on the landing. He's careful about being tied. For the most part, he just stands there. Since I can't afford any more vet bills, his new normal will include a lot of conversations with the fence.
That's okay; maybe he can work out some of his feelings in fence pole therapy. That pole is a really good listener.
I can't tell you how many times I have heaped blessings on the hot walker to "entertain" Hana while Fiddle was working in the arena...and entertain Fiddle while Hana was working. Hana hollers and snorts inside the walker, but Fee just trudged forward...and the next time when I offered her the choice to stand tied at the trailer instead of going in the hot walker, Fiddle cocked a hip and went to sleep. Hana...nope. She's 23 this year, and still chooses to be ridiculous!
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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%: