From Endurance to Dressage
The last couple of days have definitely been of the saddle up anyway variety. My work days have been long and hard, and it has been hot. I always go to the barn in riding clothes, but that doesn't mean I am always going to ride. Sometimes I talk myself into cleaning tack instead, or the horses let me know they'd rather not either.
As I dragged myself out to the horses' paddocks, I kept chanting, saddle up anyway. It was so hot though, and poor Izzy was already damp and sticky from the heat. Both horses have started growing winter coats already even though our summer isn't over yet. The problem is that October can still be quite warm with days in the 100s, so working with your winter coat on can be pretty uncomfortable. You can see his new black hair coming in which is very different from the yellow hair he had just a week ago.
I struck a compromise; we would do a trail ride instead of schooling in the arena. Izzy still needs to work off the property to build confidence, so that's what we did. I also threw on his correction bit just to remind him that he doesn't need to be heavy in my hand. As it turned out, I should have used spurs or the whip as there was way more go! than whoa.
We followed the same route as on the day before when I rode Speedy, but I didn't do it bareback with a halter, primarily because Izzy's back and withers are way too sharp. Speedy has great withers, but he also has a very flat and wide back. His ribcage is so well sprung that it's a little bit like riding on a sofa. And this time I remembered to grab a quick photo of the metal sculptures. These guys have been there a while, but sometimes there's a giant chicken and other things.
We stopped by the same apple tree, but unlike Speedy, Izzy doesn't care so much about getting a treat. Being out in the world is stressful for him, so the apples weren't a huge appeal. I did manage to get him to eat half an apple before we moved on though. Baby steps.
Somehow we managed to go a tenth of a mile farther than I did with Speedy, but it took us twenty minutes longer. As we were heading out, the property owner from where I used to board my boys was out doing some fence work, so I stopped and chatted with her for a solid 20 minutes. It was good for Izzy to just stand around for a while. The break played havoc with out "workout time" though as our average mile pace dropped to 28 minutes compared to Speedy's 18.
After teaching online today, I have to drive across town to school to pick up some supplies, and then I have a late afternoon dentist appointment. I know I won't be riding today which is why I made sure to saddle up anyway yesterday. With the weekend just ahead and cool morning temperatures waiting for us, I'll be able to make up for a missed riding day.
And really, neither horse will be heartbroken to sit out another warm 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 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%: