From Endurance to Dressage
Weekend Trail Ride
Speedy and I finally went out for a real trail ride. Not just a quick hack around the neighborhood, but a two-hour ride where we actually left home and trailered out to trails. I had more fun than I've had in ages.
I hauled Speedy and myself out to Hart Park and parked at Horsemen's Barn, a staging area for trail rides, parties, and barbecues.
There are many great things about this parking area: it's only 10 minutes from the barn, there are at least 10 miles (or more) of trails accessible from this point, and the view is really pretty. The barn area has corrals, tie rails, a wash rack, water spigots, and picnic tables.
While I enjoy riding alone, I also like doing stuff with my husband so I asked if he wanted to meet me at the parking area with the dog. I knew he wouldn't want to go the whole way (which took me two hours), but Tobias loves the river, and I knew it would be something fun the four of us could do together.
If I ever say another disparaging thing about my gray pony, Speedy "You da man" G, you all have full permission to smack me silly. That boy is golden.
We headed out across the road to the park's hiking/equestrian trail. Tobias ran ahead like a crazy man, splashing through the river and bounding back up on the trail in front of Speedy. While Speedy gave him the occasional stink eye, he was careful not to step on Tobias and he never threatened to kick or nip. And more than once, Tobias stopped immediately in front of Speedy to sniff or just to be a pain. Speedy would touch him with his nose, and Tobias would be off terrorizing the ducks and squirrels.
Speedy was happy to follow along after my husband who would occasionally walk along side Speedy and pat his neck, especially when Tobias got silly. Speedy loved both the attention and the company.
After a half hour or so, my husband took Tobias and headed back to the truck while Speedy and I continued on around Lake Ming before heading back to the trailer. Before my husband left, he took a couple of photos for me. "Ear pics" are great, but sometimes we need to see the whole body.
Once Speedy and I were on our own, we picked up an endurance trot and boogied around the back side of Lake Ming. We hadn't done such a big, ground covering trot in a long time. Speedy had a blast and was more than willing to zoom along.
After we circled around the California Living Museum and the Soccer Park, we got back down along the river and picked up a rocking little hand gallop back to the trailer. Speedy loved that!
Several times along the trail, we were met by various people who asked to pet Speedy. At one point, a group of at least ten kids came charging through the trees yelling, "Horse! Horse!" Speedy stood politely as kids (from infant to 13 years old) stroked his nose, belly, and tail. He adores small kids and always drops his nose to their level. And no matter how many tiny feet are beneath him, he never, ever steps out of place.
As we neared the trailer, an elderly couple stood to the side so we could pass by. Behind them, stood an even older woman who looked pretty fragile. I stopped Speedy when the man asked if he was an Arabian. Speedy was so careful next to those elderly people that my heart just swelled with pride. They pet his nose and admired his sparkly bridle charm, oohing over how soft and friendly he was.
No matter how eager I am to finish up my ride, I always stop and let people visit with Speedy. He is an incredible ambassador for not only the Arabian breed, but for all equines.
When we wrapped up for the day, my heart was so full of love for this guy. He has truly turned out to be an amazing horse, game for anything that I ask of him. There aren't a lot of "show horses" that can be tossed into a trailer on a brisk morning at 38℉, ridden with an exuberant Labrador Retriever, and then motor along the trail by themselves with a pleasant expression. Not only can he do all that, but he can be trusted to hand gallop along the trail and then return to a quiet free walk without any shenanigans.
He certainly made me proud this weekend. I hope we can do the ride again before my Christmas break is over.
12/31/2014 12:27:42 am
Sounds like an amazing ride. I love that feeling of being so in love with a horse and so at home on their back. Speedy is such a sweet guy.
12/31/2014 03:05:07 am
Unfortunately, it always takes me years to feel that way. I wish it was an instantaneous thing for me. :0)
12/31/2014 03:15:49 am
Thank you, Austen! I am not sure that Speedy was a natural though. :0)
Izzy will be fine. Think of how you feel any time you get a new horse. It's all anticipation and worry and anxiety, then you start in on the day to day things. You build a relationship. You get to know each other. Things start to feel normal. That'll happen with Izzy.
12/31/2014 03:30:19 am
What a beautiful ride! I love that your husband and dog got to come along for at least part of it! The lake is gorgeous. I also love that you stopped to socialize with people. It's something Ozzy and I always did on our rides through the neighborhood, and I feel it's so important to do if we want people to keep sharing their trails with us.
12/31/2014 03:37:35 am
Exactly, Dom. :0)
12/31/2014 04:32:51 am
Your show horse comment is very true. I also love it when a horse is careful around smaller animals and delicate people.
1/3/2015 11:59:02 pm
The trail is such an excellent way to learn. I hope I'll be able to get Izzy out there sooner rather than later. :0)
1/4/2015 12:00:48 am
I love that Speedy is so friendly on the trail, not all horses are. It's certainly a lot less stressful when you know your partner isn't going to spin or freak out when baby stroller pops around the corner. And since I am a teacher, I ALWAYS put on my teacher hat when we meet kids on the trail. The kids love learning about the horses. :0)
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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%: