From Endurance to Dressage
Well hallelujah! Izzy gave me something brand new during my Saturday lesson with Sean cunningham, owner and trainer at STC Dressage. It didn't last long, but it was a sneak peek into our future.
Sean joined me in a Pivo Cast just as I started my ride. Most weekends, I try to have Izzy a lot farther into the ride before Sean joins in, but it actually helps me when Sean sees our warm up. There were no real issues, so we got to work pretty quickly. After some trot leg yields which really help Izzy get his back moving, we moved right into the canter work.
Suddenly, I was on a horse I'd never ridden before. Izzy was bounding around the arena with a ground-eating canter and a back that was swinging and loose. Best of all, he let me actually make the decisions without any arguing from him. It was glorious! I am pretty sure I heard Sean pumping his fist with a Tiger Woods expression on his face.
With such a great start to our ride, Sean made sure that we didn't over face Izzy. We came back to a walk. Sean's plan for the rest of the lesson was to work a little and then let Izzy walk and catch his breath. it was a good plan, but Izzy's canter work was all the focus he could muster. It was as though his energetic and very forward thinking canter scared him. You could practically see him thinking, oh, wow, what was that? am I in trouble? where did that come from? did anyone see? was that right or wrong?
We spent the rest of the lesson telling him it was okay and that we're not going to ask for more than he can do. He didn't quite believe us, but it gave me an excellent opportunity to practice for this weekend's show. How will I respond when Izzy's mental hamsters fall out of his brain? When he loses confidence, what will I do? The rest of Saturday's lesson showed me that I do have the tools to support Izzy and actually help him, but will it be enough to bring out the horse that Izzy gave us a sneak peek of at the beginning of the lesson? I doubt it, but it's very encouraging to see that horse waiting in the wings.
While most of the lesson was about trying to put Izzy back together again, riding those few minutes of wonder horse gave me a ton of encouragement. I know Sean felt vindicated. His I TOLD you that energy would be fun to ride once you found it proved yet again that he knows what he's doing.
I am really looking forward to a winter of lessons. We might actually make some noticeable progress.
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%: