From Endurance to Dressage
California is well known for its fantastic climate. Of course, we're also a huge state so different parts of the state experience different weather. In general, the coast is pleasant all year long, the mountains see snow in the winter but have mild summers, and the central valley has mild winters and blazing hot summers. I don't mind because it means I can ride about 360 days out of the year.
When it rains here in Bakersfield, it lasts a few hours and then moves on. Our annual average is 6.47 inches. For the year. As in all 12 months. Last year, we got a total of 4.43 inches. In 2013-2014, we had 2.41 inches. Some of you get that in a few hours.
Over the past 4 days, we've had 2.2 inches of rain; a full third of our annual rainfall and just slightly less than what fell in all of 2013/2014. I don't think anyone's complaining though. When you live in a land that exists in perpetual drought that's also regularly on fire, any drop of precipitation is much appreciated.
Yesterday morning, I kept a close eye on the radar, certain that the clouds would dissipate quickly letting me make my daily barn run. Not only did the clouds not disappear, but they got thicker and heavier. Since there's no time like the present, I let both dogs jump in the truck, and we headed out in a downpour.
The ranch owner would have let me know if there had been a problem, but I hate to make her slog around checking on everybody. I needed to exchange Speedy's medium weight blanket for his heavier one anyway. I was glad I did because it continued to rain for the rest of the day and into this morning.
Izzy's side was no better. Both dogs thought the whole things was fabulous. That's labs for you though, and both of ours are confirmed water dogs. My husband laughed at me when I told him I had brought the dogs with me. My truck now smells of eau de wet dog, a very pricey fragrance.
Our black lab was much more sensible. He kept to the grass and out of the horses pens, a rule about which Yellow Dog conveniently forgot.
Even though Izzy's blanket is looking a bit worse for wear and is held together with carabiners and spare parts, I tossed it on him. By about 7:30 p.m., the ranch owner called and asked if it was okay to pull it off. For the second time in a row, he had managed to get out of the leg straps and had it hanging off his body in a way that only Houdini could have accomplished. We both agreed that safe and wet was better than dry and tangled. He hates wearing the thing anyway. No wonder that blanket has seen better days.
By the time I was finished, the tanker trucks had succeed in pumping a good portion of the water off the road. The river and canal run parallel to the road, so when the ground can't absorb the water quickly enough, they siphon the water off the road and dump it in the canal. Things are still pretty wet this morning with showers predicted through this afternoon. I think I'll wait until later in the day to make my daily barn trek. For the next ten days, we have sunny skies forecasted with temperatures in the mid-70s.
I think we can deal with that.
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%: