From Endurance to Dressage
A Follow Up
Progress is being made. I acknowledged that yesterday. It may be slow and it may be coming in spurts, but at least it's there.
When I rode Izzy on Sunday, the day after the big party next door, I was on a totally different horse. While I would prefer to have the same horse everyday, the on again/off again thing is way better than a looney tune for every single ride.
I definitely need to see Chemaine again about a couple of things. I know the issues are my fault, but I am not sure how to fix them. When Izzy is being more or less rideable, meaning I am not simply trying to stay aboard, he can get very stiff in his neck. I've tried the counter bending exercise, which helps, but I suspect I'll get more from him if I can learn how much "play" I need with the inside rein.
When I took a lesson with Chemaine the other week, she told me I hadn't let go of the inside rein at all (until she schooled me on it) while I felt like I was sponging it a lot. I suspect she wants me to play with it big enough to actually move his head and neck so that I can let it go, but I need to check in with her on that.
During our ride, several super great things happened. Well maybe not several things, but enough that I ended up feeling pretty good about our weekend effort. Drum roll please ... Izzy actually volunteered a left lead canter!
When Izzy is being a jerk - running through my aids, flinging his head around, and so on, his legs will scramble in all directions which sometimes resembles a canter. It's jarring, disjointed, and nothing that you want to ride for long. The canter that he offered on Sunday was legit. It was round, relatively light, and had a clear three-beat rhythm.
I think he finally understood what I was asking him to do. Now that I know how to set him up for the canter (slight counter bend, open inside rein to push the inside shoulder in, outside leg back to control the haunches), it's getting easier and easier for him to do it. So are we making progress? I would say so. Two weeks ago I couldn't get a left lead canter. Now he's volunteering it.
I had to work really late yesterday, which was a blessing as it was a 111℉. I didn't get to ride, not like I could have in that heat anyway. Today is supposed to be cooler at 102. I would like to get another ride on him to see whether I get horse A (Party Horse) or horse B (the Volunteer). We'll see how much heat I can take this afternoon.
When he's being stiff in his neck, check to make sure you haven't locked one or both hands/elbows/arms. Give the whole arm (from your shoulder) a wiggle and stretch forward to get some relaxation back in it to check yourself. One of my trainer's OTTB's gave me a good lesson in hand restriction and timing yesterday. She wants to please very badly but when you block her from being a good girl she gets very stiff, blows through you, and then gets upset that she can't do what you want. I mostly had trouble with it in canter. Mikey had a big rocking canter with a slow tempo, and basically everything else doesn't, so my gives and follows were out of wack and she wasn't pleased. Some sitting up in the shoulder like I was trying to push back a recliner with my shoulder blades quieted my shoulders and re-engaged my seat and let me find the rhythm I needed... and the mare came through and was soft as could be, until we both got tired! Too much fussing doesn't work with her (no matter how much I wanted to because she is so stiff), it had to be I soften a little, she softens a little, I soften more, she softens more, then one of us would mess up and she'd bolt off again and we'd have to start over. It just reminded me of Izzy, so I wanted to share!
8/18/2015 10:14:54 pm
Frankly, something is nearly ALWAYS locked. :0) Thanks for the suggestion - I'll keep that in mind. :0)
8/18/2015 10:17:42 pm
On that day anyway! :0)
8/18/2015 10:18:20 pm
Slow and steady, but at least we're moving forward. :0)
8/18/2015 10:20:21 pm
Once it reaches around 102, it's all the same! At least the humidity is low here. You have more of it than we do!
8/18/2015 03:32:59 pm
The teachers at J's school are having a hard time because with no AC, the rooms were up to 94F last week and also it's humid, so miserable to try to teach. I think it's unethical for this to happen, not to mention it must also be rough on the kids. - well, not that they're used to AC!
8/18/2015 10:22:12 pm
Occasionally someone's AC will go out here. Our librarian has no AC right now, so she is just miserable. I remember growing up with no AC in school, but I can't imagine it now. I feel bad for your husband, that's for sure!
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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%: