From Endurance to Dressage
I have never before been as sick as I was over this past month. Sure, I've dislocated my kneecap, sprained my pelvic bone, and had pneumonia, but I've never been kept out of the saddle or away from the barn for more than a few days. After dislocating my knee, I rode a 50 mile endurance race less than two weeks later. Give me a case of bronchitis, and I am out for a month.
When I got to the barn on Saturday afternoon, no one even looked at me. Speedy's head remained buried in his feed tub, and Izzy stood with a hind leg cocked, resting in the sun. For a moment, my feelings were hurt, but then the happiness of finally being at the barn won me over, and I smiled.
I puttered around doing chores that at first felt foreign, but then the familiarity of the routine took over. As I glanced at my calendar, the empty squares stared at me accusingly. I uncapped my Sharpie marker and slowly began crossing off the missed days of December.
After filling feed buckets and sweeping out the tack room, I grabbed Speedy's halter and my grooming bag. While not as vocal as usual, he still came up to the fence to greet me. It was like seeing a long lost friend. He nosed my hair and face and then rubbed his head up and down my hip like he always does.
I reached out a bit tentatively and stroked his face in greeting and then ran my hands over his body. To my astonishment, Speedy had his full winter coat. Even though I had ridden him for a few minutes the weekend before, I hadn't noticed his annual polar bear coat. It felt so strange that even without me there to keep things rolling along, Speedy had winterized without me.
I tacked him up slowly, giving him extra pats to remind him of how much I had missed him. As we walked towards the arena, I smiled wistfully when I realized that his December Gotcha Day had slipped by me unnoticed. Ten years ago this month, Speedy joined our family. It's been a decade. He's been with me nearly half of my adult life.
Not that he cared about any of that. He was just happy to get to work, and we had a good ride. While we aren't exactly where we were three months ago before his hoof injury, it won't take us long to get there. We actually cantered for the first time in 3 months. And even though he was a little sassy, I know that he enjoyed himself.
As of Friday, I get two weeks off for Christmas. Hopefully I'll stay healthy so that I can enjoy them!
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%: