From Endurance to Dressage
I know that those of you who live in Minnesota, Maine, and the Pacific Northwest are laughing at us here in California, but man, oh man, are we doing the happy dance. One-third of our state has been re-designated as drought free!
I live in Kern County. It's the large rectangle with the staircase on the left side (bottom third of the state). We've been downgraded from "exceptional drought" to the more positive "extreme drought." We've had more than 2.5 inches of rain this month which is more than we had in December which was the third wettest December in history. I know it doesn't seem like much, but we're at over 200% of our normal rain for this time of the year. Throughout this drought, we've been lucky to get 2.5 inches per year!
While all of us are celebrating the rain, we're also secretly frustrated by it as well. We've had to reschedule our clinic with Chemane Hurtado, owner and trainer of Symphony Dressage Stables, three times!
While my boys aren't living in mud up to their hocks (yet), Speedy's paddock is now over fetlock deep. My muck boot got sucked off on Saturday causing a near splash down in serious grossness. I caught my balance though and was able to shove my foot back in the boot before anything bad happened. Yuck!
Izzy's paddock is so large that while it has soft spots, he still has plenty of firm ground on which to hang out.
There's one spot on the road out to the barn that floods each time we get a heavy rain. Most of the time a crew is there to pump the water into the canal as soon as the rain lets up. On Friday, it rained for so many hours that I knew the road would still be flooded by the time I got there after work. There's only one road I can take. While it loops around the mountain, it would be more than an hour's drive to go that way, and it can have problems on the back side. I didn't bother going to the barn.
While I've driven through the flooded section before, I am super glad I didn't try it Friday afternoon. Underneath the flooded water, a large sinkhole had formed. When I got to the barn on Saturday, most of the water had been pumped off the road and the sinkhole had been filled. I can't even imagine how disastrous it would have been to drive over that hole in my little car!
Even though we had a nearly record amount of rain on Friday, I was still able to ride in my arena the next day. With a base of river sand and added decomposed granite (DG) on top, the footing was rock solid. There were several large puddles, but they weren't slippery at all. In fact, the footing was so firm that I felt safe cantering Izzy.
Yet another storm system hit Kern County on Sunday with wind gusts approaching 90 miles per hour in some places. It poured off and on throughout the day, especially last night. To my disappointment, no riding happened, but peanut butter cookies and homemade clam chowder got made. A win?
After today, we're supposed to see dry weather until the second week of February. While we still need more rain, a break would be nice. Chemaine is supposed to be here February 4th and 5th. I wish the weather gods would either let it pour non-stop and end this drought completely or give us a break and let us get some rides in.
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%: