From Endurance to Dressage
We actually made it home on Sunday, but I had a bit of a computer problem that kept me from blogging. The fix turned out to be a simple one - unplug and wait ten minutes.
While this is not a travel blog, traveling is my second favorite thing to do (after riding), so I'd like to share a few photos from our trip.
We spent fifteen days in Portugal. This was my fourth trip across the Atlantic, but I have to say that Portugal turned out to be my favorite European country to visit (so far!). I can only say wonderful things about the people, the food, the wine (ah ... the wine), the culture, everything.
We landed in Lisbon, Portugal's capital, but immediately drove north to Obidos, a tiny town encircled by castle walls. We stayed in the castle itself, walked the entire wall (about a mile), enjoyed a sumptuous dinner, and sipped wine on the castle walls. It was a divine start to the trip.
From Obidos, we continued north to Porto where we spent three nights in the most amazing apartment over-looking the Douro River. My pictures cannot begin to convey how absolutely heavenly the view from that apartment was. The apartment was a corner unit on the third floor of the building, so we had HUGE windows on two sides that allowed the sunlight, sea breeze, and sounds of the city to pour over us.
From Porto, we drove east into the interior of the country. We spent the morning in Guimaraes where we toured a castle and a lovely palace. We then continued on to Aramante for a two-night stay in one of Portugal's finest hotels. And boy, was it swanky! Aramante was having it's annual festival, and our hotel was smack dab in the middle of the action. While it was loud (drums and fireworks that started in the morning and went until about 5:00 a.m.), we still enjoyed participating in a very local event.
From Aramante we drove south to the university town of Coimbra for a short stay. There, we toured the university and several other churches and buildings of cultural significance.
From Coimbra, we drove 500 km (four and a half hours) south to Sagres, the most southwestern point of Europe (and Portugal). Again, we had a lovely apartment for a three-night stay. Sagres is famous for its cliffs and beaches, and we explored as many as we could.
From Sagres, we turned north back to Lisbon. We spent one day on our own touring, but then we booked a private tour of the city and were treated to a day filled with off the beaten track back roads, local restaurants, and stories about the daily lives of the average Portuguese family.
Entering Lisbon, we crossed the Vasco da Gama Bridge - 11 miles long, making it the longest bridge in Europe when it opened in 1998. Today, it is one of the longest in the world. Its vastness forced engineers to factor in the curvature of the Earth during its construction. It was built in only 18 months at a cost of one billion US dollars.
We've traveled a fair amount during our twenty-five years together, but this trip was something else. If you're considering a European vacation, I would definitely recommend Portugal.
Thanks for letting me share my photos with you!
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 …
8/7-8 SCEC (***)
10/30-31 SCEC (***)
2021 Completed …
10/24-25 SCEC (***)
11/7-11/8 SB (***)
4/10-11 SCEC (***)
5/16-17 El Sueño (***)
6/26-27 SCEC (***)
7/17-18 El Sueño (***)
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