From Endurance to Dressage
I am not sure if it would have been better (doubtful), but due to high winds, the trail ride was moved to the Tejon Equestrian Center rather than being staged at one of the ranch's other fixtures (fox hunting lingo?). I was actually glad; it was a much shorter drive, and the eq center's amenities were very welcome.
I had been to the Tejon Ranch for endurance rides and a trail trial, but I had never actually been to the Equestrian Center. I was impressed; it's lovely and has ample parking. Since I haul a pretty big trailer (3-horse with living quarters), good parking is always welcome. Our hostess, Lori, even brought up the idea of organizing a spring dressage show in 2016. I told her to go for it!
I pulled past the indoor ring and parked out back. Several other rigs pulled in after me, and I was delighted to see some familiar faces. We tacked up our horses and then walked over to the covered ring to check in with our hostesses and enjoy some mimosas and home-made blueberry muffins.
While Speedy proved to be a bit of a nut out on the trail, his barn manners were impeccable. He and Harry hit it off immediately ... bromance for sure!
The ride started out great. There were fifteen of us which included the ranch's Master of Hounds (they fox hunt regularly), and the ranch's horse manager. Everyone moseyed out onto the trail perfectly sanely, but it didn't take too long though before the differences in training levels started to show.
Speedy didn't start the shenanigans, but he certainly participated. Eight of the horses belonged to the ranch and were rented by the out-of-town riders. They were all quite well behaved. The rest of us were on our own ponies. One pair of riders was on a youngster and a trail greenie. There was some rearing, leg scrambling, huffing and puffing, but both riders did a great job of staying in the saddle. And by the end of the day, both horses had gained a ton of experience.
Early on in the ride, we rode up several steep hills. Speedy was so excited about being in a large group that he wanted to bolt up the hill. When I said no, he grabbed the bit and made a break for it. I kept him mostly in check, but he bucked, lunged, and reared himself to the top of the hill. I was pretty certain I was going to hit the ground so I gave a warning yell and held on tightly. We made it to the top together, but I was quite embarrassed!
My favorite thing about Speedy is his confidence. He never buddied up with anyone, but he never growled or threatened anyone either. He spent the entire ride grazing his way down the trail oblivious to who went ahead of him or who lagged behind. When he would come up for air, he did try and jog his way back to the front, but he never cared who was near him. I love that about him.
Our trail guides arranged for a cooler of ice cold water to be left on the trail. It was a nice break for us and the horses. We actually came back to the water stop twice. Speedy enjoyed the break as he hasn't seen grass like this in a very long time.
After the first water stop, Speedy was a perfect gentleman. He motored where I pointed him and did so with a smile. From the second he stepped off the trailer, he was in heaven - I could see it all over his face. He genuinely enjoyed being out on the trail with a group of horses. Initially, I think he thought we were at an endurance ride which is why he was so eager to GET MOVING. He had a serious adrenaline rush and just needed to move out faster than a walk.
I don't know if it is still said on the endurance trail, but when I was riding, we had a saying: his brain is trying to write a check that his body can't cash. That's a tweaked version of the familiar phrase, but what it means is that the horse THINKS he's superman and can maintain that pace all day, but in reality, he can't.
While he felt like Superman, I wanted him to finish the day just as healthy as he started it. While Speedy gets worked daily, we don't do hills anymore, but that's what we spent several hours doing. So even though he wanted to blast down the trail, I insisted that he walk. And to my complete happiness, when I turned him out in the arena at home for his post-trailer-ride roll, he leaped up bucking and galloping. So much for a tired horse!
When the ride was finished, we regrouped in the indoor ring for a fabulous lunch. Again, my pictures do not do the table setting, nor the food, justice.
I know it's hard to see, but the front table held a tower of amazing cupcakes: red velvet, chocolate, and champagne. There were also beautiful party prizes. Lori had taped a "winner" coupon under several of the chairs.
Each gourmet lunch was artfully arranged in a beautiful "to go" box. We had fancy napkins, pretzels, fruit, cheese, a sandwich (that was way above a typical sandwich), pasta salad, and carrot and jicama sticks.
Lori is so creative. The carrot sticks and jicama were actually stacked in little mason jars with dip resting in the bottom. The pasta salad and lemonade were also packaged in a small mason jar. The jars kept everything fresh and clean, and frankly, it was just fun to open your own little serving and eat it out of a jar.
I drove home with a big smile on my face, a very full belly, and a happy, healthy horse riding shotgun (sort of). Many thanks to Lori, Edyta, and the Tejon Ranch for a truly lovely day!
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 Second Level. 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%
2021 Show Season
(r) Ride-a-Test Clinic
(Q) Must Qualify
2021 Pending …
3/6-7 El Sueño (***)
4/17-18 El Sueño (***)
5/16-17 El Sueño (***)
5/23 TMC (*)
6/12-13 SB (***) OR
6/19-20 El Sueño (***)
6/27 TMC (*)
7/3-4 Burbank (***) OR
7/17-18 El Sueño (***)
7/25 TMC (*)
8/14-15 RAAC (Q) (***)
8/29 TMC (*)
2021 Completed …
10/24-25 SCEC (***)
11/7-11/8 SB (***)
2021 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
2nd Level Qualifying
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%:
Score 1: 60.610% Bhathal
2nd Level Qualifying
5 Scores/4 Judges/61%:
Stuff I Read