From Endurance to Dressage
First of all, Happy New Year! Like every other Earthling, my wish for the new year is peace and good health for everyone; let's get the world's train back on track.
I don't know about your long weekend, but mine was jam packed, starting with some much needed work on Newt and my trailer. Early in November, Izzy and I had that horrible ride that nearly killed us both. At the time, I made the deduction that the propane tank's bracket broke creating a terrible vibration in my truck when the tank hit the ground. It was a theory that seemed the most likely explanation for what happened. Last week while hauling home from a lesson at Symphony Dressage Stables, I felt the vibration a second time, but this time it was worse, and no propane tank was involved.
I was on the phone with my mom when the vibration started. I apologized and told her I had to go as there was something wrong with my truck. I hung up and pulled to the side of the highway - not much safer than the pullover in November. I checked all eight tires and underneath the truck and trailer, but everything appeared normal. Once I was back on the road, I called my mom back to tell her I was okay.
My mom is not like most moms. She's a good mechanic, and she's incredibly handy with all sorts of power tools. Whenever she comes to visit, I always have little projects around the house she helps me fix. I told her I was okay and things seemed to be working normally. Even so, she begged me to get my truck checked out. My mom knows what's "normal," so I knew her warning came from experience.
Since the vibrations have only happened while hauling the trailer, I decided to have the trailer checked out first. I suspected something in my trailer's wheels might be sticking and dragging. Wheel bearings are something that are supposed to be done with a certain degree of regularity. This is embarrassing to admit as I really like to keep my vehicles well-maintained, but in the fifteen or so years that I've owned this trailer, I've never had the bearings repacked. It's not that I didn't want to, it's just that this trailer rarely ever sits for more than a few weeks, so I just didn't think it was really necessary.
I scheduled an appointment with my guys over at Pensinger's. If you're local, you'll know that this is the place for trailer and RV repair. These guys are honest, and they do a great job. When I pulled in, I explained what had happened. They didn't think the vibrations were caused by my trailer, but they agreed to check it out. I also showed them where my propane tank's strap had broken, so they also agreed to check all of the fittings and add a new strap.
As we were looking at the trailer, I realized that I had a very flat tire. Not just low, but pancake flat. I had checked the tires a few days prior, so the flat probably happened on the way home from the lesson. Pensinger's doesn't do tire repair, but they agreed to swap out the flat for my spare which would enable me to get the trailer to my tire guys.
Later that afternoon, Pensinger's called and said my trailer was ready. They had repacked the bearings - but they were actually in good condition. They also checked my brakes which were also in great shape. They looked over all of the fittings for my propane tank and declared it safe for use. They added a new strap and sent me on my way. I pulled out of their lot and drove the few miles to the tire shop.
The guys at Les Schwab are always respectful and never treat me derisively even though my mechanical knowledge includes descriptive words like freaked me out, really loud, scary, can you write you that down?, and wow, you're really strong. They fixed the flat - the tire had a hole the diameter of a pencil. The bolt I had run over had fallen out leaving a pretty big hole. They put the repaired tire back on my trailer, checked the tire pressure on the rest of the tires, and replaced the spare.
When I explained the vibration that I had felt, the guys knew exactly what it was. They jacked up the front of the truck and did a front end inspection noting that the track bar and drag link had some movement where there shouldn't be movement. It's not good news, but at least the truck is under an extended warranty. The problem is that it's one of those issues that doesn't have a clear cut solution. It's "safe" to drive, but it does need to be fixed before the front end wobble gets worse. I have an appointment with Ford's service department on Friday.
Thursday was a long day. I connected and disconnected the truck and trailer four times in one day. I drove the combo to two different service departments for several repairs and inspections, but when you have big "toys," they have to be safe. I was grateful that the guys worked so quickly to get everything done for me because on Friday, I had planned to drive to the desert to ride with my friend Wendy.
More on that trip tomorrow.
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
*** SCEC 10/15-16/22
2022 Completed …
(*) Tehachapi 5/22/22
(*) Tehachapi 7/24/22
(***) Tehachapi 8/28/22
2023 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
Qualifying Training Level
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%:
Score 1: 62.115%