From Endurance to Dressage
That was more my husband's idea. I was okay with it as I needed to save a bit more money for my new horse, but I was already feeling at loose ends without a second horse. I decided to fill that empty time with shopping.
If you know me at all, you know I don't like to window shop. It's boring and serves no purpose. Browsing online ads was exactly the same. Why couldn't I just see 20 ads of horses that met my criteria? If you're shopping for running shoes, you go to that section of the store and you look at only running shoes.
But no, that's not quite how Dream Horse, Equine Now, and Horse Trader work. You can certainly narrow down your search criteria, but I was still overwhelmed by the number of horses that were completely wrong for me. At first, I looked at anything that was in my price range that wasn't a Quarter Horse. I can't believe how many Quarter Horses there are for sale here in California. No offense meant to the Quarter Horse folks out there.
Eventually, I was able to narrow down my search to horses with an English background or that were at least earmarked as prospects for an English discipline (dressage, eventing, h/j, etc.). Even so, nothing popped up that was worth driving several hours to see.
But I persisted. At lunch, I waded through hundreds of ads, dismissing nearly all of them. Occasionally something would pop up that seemed like a possibility, but when I tried to contact the seller, there was no response. Eventually however, either the ads got newer, or maybe I just got better at choosing candidates, but I started hearing back from owners and was able to find out more about their horses.
In total, I only rode three horses, but I spoke to a lot more owners than that. The first was over in Moorpark. He was a lovely RPSI gelding offered for sale at White Birch Farm. I was there for a schooling show and took the time to try him out. He was a little too complicated for me (he had a piaffe button that was easy to turn on, but harder to turn off). He's a nice horse and will make a great partner for a rider with more dressage experience.
I also tried an American Warmblood (TB x Morgan cross) who was only an hour from my house. According to his owner, he had been trained to Second Level, but for the past three to five years had been living in pretty rough conditions. He was on the older side of my want list at twelve, but I kept him as a possibility.
The photo attached was a simple one of him standing next to his owner, but it didn't really reveal much about his conformation and certainly didn't show him moving. Even so, I had a good feeling about him, so did my trainer.
2008 Brown Zweibruecker/Oldenburg Gelding for sale. He has lots of potential with excellent bloodlines for your next project show horse. His grand-sire is Ideal, which was the Breyer horse of 2005. He is very athletic with great elevated movement and has a good work ethic. He is sound and has no problem feet. He is very lovable and fine-tuned to ones body language.
Then I saw the ad for a 6 year old Zweibrücker gelding who was in my price range. The description that followed seemed too good to be true.
I called the owner and we chatted about the horse for a while. Several other people were either looking at him or were scheduled to come see him. Nothing gets you moving like thinking your horse is about to be sold to someone else! As much as I wanted to see him the next day, I had to go to work.
Several other might be the ones had already passed, so I knew that I just had to wait it out and see if this one truly was the one for me. I got a message the next day saying that a prospective buyer had cancelled, and I was next on the list to see him.
Fortunately, I had Friday off thanks to the Thanksgiving holiday. Hubby and I hopped in the truck at 7:00 a.m. for the hour and a half drive north. We pulled into Whitney's Wild Oak Ranch and were delighted by the facility. This horse was definitely being well cared for.
Imperioso was in a huge pasture that was knee deep in grass. He had a large tree in the center and a covered shelter. He looked quite relaxed and happy. Hubby later told me that he walked off with the dog because as soon as he saw the horse, he knew it was a done deal.
Noemi, Imperioso's owner, told me all about his training, what his life has been like, and what I might expect to see while he was worked in the round pen. She encouraged me to saddle and bridle him. He was polite, except for the typical 6 year old stuff (snuffling for treats in my hair, tugging at my sleeve, rapping the gate with his hooves when we weren't talking to him - all stuff that just makes them cute.)
She has given him the very best life experiences possible. He had 60 days training with a dressage trainer, and then Noemi rode him for four months. He spent the next year and a half in the pasture. And while that didn't get him any more trained, it definitely gave him time to finish growing up.
We walked down to the round pen where Noemi had him trot and canter both directions. He was definitely tense and stiff, but that's to be expected from a young horse who hasn't worked in more than a year. He did give a few baby bucks, but for the most part, his tension was just a sky high head with no bend to his body. He listened the whole time though and never ran around like a crazy man.
After ten or fifteen minutes of free lunging, we both thought he looked warmed up enough for me to get on him. He wasn't great about moving sideways off my leg, but he didn't bolt at the feel of it either. I just kept him at a walk, asking him to move his hindquarters sideways. He definitely needs a refresher course, but there was no bucking, spooking, or other naughtiness.
As we walked back to the pasture, I knew he was just what I was looking for. It took us about ten seconds to work out a deal. I think Noemi felt the same way I did. I thought he was a good fit, and she wanted him to have a good home.
Yesterday I shared his breeding information, tomorrow … getting him to his temporary home!
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 …
3/27-28 SCEC (***)
4/10-11 SCEC (***)
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