From Endurance to Dressage
If you've been around a while, you know about Izzy's bitting preferences. If you're new to our journey, here's a quick run-down.
Izzy had his teeth floated in February, but they required very little work - his teeth are looked at twice a year. The vet was happy with his mouth. I rode with the legal bit a day or two later. The next day, he refused to take the bit, and I realized that he might have been a little sore from the dental work. He of course blamed it on the legal bit.
Rather than fight with him about it, I went back to the bit he likes so that I could build his confidence back up. Things started to really come together in early spring. Since the beginning of March, he has been a joy to ride. He is stretching over his top line and reaching for the bit, happy in his work.
Last week I decided it was time to bring back the legal bit. Insert an exasperated sigh accompanied by a dramatic eye roll. My lovely, bouncy, happy horse disappeared and a jackass took his place.
At the same time, Speedy began ramping up his temper tantrums over the pile of discarded jump standards that rest outside of the arena. It's a long story, but to help him cope, I laid the jump standards down and moved them over. Not only did it not help Speedy, but Izzy flipped out.
I might have dropped a few F-bombs. Holy hell. This all happened in the two days before this past Sunday's show (write up coming, I swear.) Determined to beat them at their own game, I moved the jump standards yet again. At the near end of the arena is an area that already has a pile of discarded things. As ridiculous as it sounds, I tried to camouflage the jump standards by mixing them in with the jump poles and other industrial implements already there.
For yesterday's ride, I walked Izzy over to the new pile so he could check things out. He didn't even look. I did the same thing from inside the arena. On foot, we walked back and forth past the pile so that he could see it from both eyes. Then I got on him and did the same thing. I shouldn't have bothered. He didn't give a rat's behind about the new situation. I either camouflaged things really well, or he was over it. Speedy had the exact same reaction, no big deal.
Now that the junk piled has been resolved, Izzy is back to his happy, bouncy self. When I ran the whole situation past Chemaine Hurtado, owner and trainer at Symphony Dressage Stables, she suggested I try the legal bit for one ride but then go back to the bit he likes until he's happy again. Each time his confidence returns, I'll go back to the legal bit for a day.
I am hoping over the next month I can go back and forth from one bit to the other without having to start all over again. And of course ultimately, it would be great to use the non-legal bit just for tune-ups and reminders. Since he was so great on Monday, his next ride will be in the legal bit.
Like I said, a bit of a legal problem!
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%: