From Endurance to Dressage
Spring Trail Ride
I used last week's spring break to get a lot done. After months of wet and rainy weather, we had a week of bright sunshine that was crisp and cool. Besides the arena redo, a lesson, and regular schooling rides, both horses got to get out and hit the trail. On Wednesday, Brooke joined me for a ride out at Hart Park.
I've done this loop many, many times, but Wednesday's ride was particularly memorable for the weather. It was just cool enough that all I needed was a long sleeve shirt. I was never cold, and the warm sunshine felt good rather than hot. Wet met a few cyclists and hikers, all of whom were especially courteous. I think everyone was just so grateful to finally be outdoors that we couldn't be anything but friendly.
We followed my regular loop which is a figure eight out around Lake Ming and back again. I used a new app to track our ride (blog post coming soon). Some parts of the trail were hard to follow as the grass is knee high, and the newly added stretch of bike path left me wondering if the horse trail was still there. Thankfully all that had changed was a safer route for cyclists as they no longer have to share the road with the cars. The horse trail was still there, although it is getting harder and harder to get through the campground (for anyone local).
Normally, I like to trot and canter a fair amount of the trail, but with our extremely wet winter, the trail was filled with hidden holes and mini sink holes. Every time I thought we had reached some footing good enough for a trot, one of the horses would punch through the sand into a hole. As much as I love to feel the wind in my face, most of the trail's footing wasn't quite ready for heavy hooves, so we did a lot of walking. With weather as nice as we had, it was easy to get caught up in the view and forget about the slowness of the pace.
On the back side of the lake, there is a two track trail that is reliably safe for a canter, so we did finally get to blow off some steam. Brooke was in the lead, and since Speedy has a delightful canter/gallop, Brooke let him stretch out which meant we did a brisk hand gallop instead of a collected canter. When Speedy gave a little spook and dropped back into a trot, I suggested we go just a bit slower. Izzy's hand gallop, when he's not in front, is ridiculously jarring as he raises his head as high as it will go which drops his back. The second bit of cantering was much more comfortable. You can see it in the pink section on the map above.
Hitting the trail before it gets hot is one of my favorite springtime activities. While I don't miss endurance riding per se, I do miss the fun of just riding forward, covering trail with a friend alongside. While a two hour trail ride isn't "endurance" riding, it's a nice reminder of the fun I used to have. These days, being reminded for two hours over 8 miles is much more pleasant than actually riding ten hours to cover 50 miles.
A lot cleaner, too!
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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%: