From Endurance to Dressage
When Fugly is Fantastic
In the past nineteen days, I think I've ridden eight or nine times. I usually count the days I haven't ridden. I am finally feeling fine with being an "underachiever." It has certainly taken a few weeks for me to let go of the guilt of needing time off, but I think I am there.
When I woke up on Saturday morning, I saw that the valley was socked in with Tule fog. For those of you who have in lived in California's Central Valley, you'll know that our fog is not like any most have ever seen. It can be so dense and wide spread at times that visibility will be less than 50 feet for miles. It's also really cold. It was in the 30s on Saturday morning with humidity near 100%. I waited until after ten o'clock to head out to the ranch, and even then it was still just a few degrees above freezing.
While it was miserably cold and wet, I was feeling pretty cheerful about a ride, something that I haven't felt in at least a month. I considered just hacking around the ranch, but I figured Izzy and I might both warm up if we actually worked. I was right. By the time I had two hooves picked out, I was removing a layer. Weather has never been a riding detractor for me. Cold or hot, I'm game. So while I have been checking out for the past few weeks, it has had nothing to do with the weather.
It was cold enough though that I opted to ride in my tall muck boots. Nothing hurts more than dismounting onto frozen feet. With a flannel jacket, gloves, and my feet snug and warm in my muck boots, I actually headed up to the arena feeling pretty lighthearted, which was a welcome change from the gloomy me I've had to live with the last month.
I didn't have any kind of riding plan. Izzy hadn't been worked in at least five days, so I knew he'd let me know how he was feeling. Pretty dang spicy was the answer. There was lots of sassy head shaking, ear flicks to see if I was paying attention, and a few little woohoo moments. I love riding in my tall muck boots because they're a bit thicker than my leather tall boots. They give me the feeling of a shorter stirrup along with a wide foot bed. I have a velcro butt anyway, but with those bad boys on, I feel invincible.
Knowing Izzy was too hot for precision, I spent most of the ride cantering around. Eventually, I started asking for some shallow loops and fifteen-meter circles. Izzy has figured out that anything done off the track while cantering probably means a flying change is coming, so I tried to reduce his anticipation by not asking for the change. Until I did. It was fugly as all heck, but for the first time in at least two months, I finally got a left to right flying change. So yeah, I am pretty much the bomb.
Maybe if I take another two weeks off, we'll have confirmed changes.
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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%: