From Endurance to Dressage
A Lesson in Test Preparation
On Monday, I shared what Izzy and I learned at our most recent lesson with Chemaine Hurtado, owner and trainer at Symphony Dressage Stables. When I got on Speedy, I told Chemaine that I wanted to work on Test 3 of Third Level. With a show just two days away - I swear that write up is coming beginning tomorrow, this ride needed to be my show warm up.
After a quick "loosening up," I started test 3. After the center line halt, there is a medium trot followed by a shoulder-in to two 10-meter half circles: E-X Half circle right 10m, X-B Half circle left 10m. Immediately after the second half circle, you half pass left.
Speedy's shoulder-in right is easier to do but Chemaine had me ask for more vertical flexion to get him rounder and softer. We struggle much more with the shoulder-in left. What I've been doing is asking with my inside leg only which has just let his hip swing out. Chemaine had me really think about establishing a wall with my outside rein and leg as I use my inside leg. With a firmer outside rein, Speedy's hip can't swing out. Instead, his inside hind has to step under and cross over.
As soon as I understood how to more effectively ride the shoulder-in, particularly to the left, we moved on to the trot half passes. While my scores over the weekend were still wildly erratic (half pass left - 5.5, 7.0 and half pass right - 5.0, 4.5), Chemaine gave me some great strategies to help me get them under control. The first tip was to make sure my 10-meter half circles were deep enough to help me establish some bend. The second tip was to take an extra stride or two in the half circle as I started the half pass. I can't say I implemented all of that particularly well over the weekend, but I now see what I can do to improve those scores.
I had spent several weeks schooling the canter work from test 3, but the canter half pass still needs work. Chemaine had me think about getting a much more collected canter that had more jump rather than being slower. She counted the strides from K to A and then from A to F where the canter half pass left begins. By collecting the canter (getting more strides), Speedy carries more weight on his hind end which allows him to lift his shoulders which is how to get a fluid half pass. Ours still isn't fluid. And it's barely a half pass, but we're working on it.
The work we did during the lesson must have paid off at least a little bit because our canter half pass scores did show improvement. For the canter half pass left, we earned 6.5 and 6.0. For the half pass right, we still have a lot of work left. We earned a 5.0 and a 4.0 with the comment, "struggling, lacks bend." Yep. I know what I'll be working on for the next month.
The one movement that we only reviewed (instead of schooling) was the flying change. Based on my matrix of scores, I had realized that my left to right flying change was a real weakness, so for the past three weeks, I've done a boatload of them. You can see the result in the photo above and below.
Over the course of the three tests that we rode over the weekend, we did six flying changes which carry a double coefficient. That means they're counted twice. We earned a 7.0 on five of them. The lone sub 7.0 score was for a right to left change that earned a 5.0 with the comment, "late in front." I watched the video and couldn't see it, but it's obvious that our changes are now becoming a strength. In fact, Saturday's judge wrote in her further remarks, "Confirmed changes."
If we're friends on Facebook, you already know how the show went. We're out of town for a day or two which is why this post is so late in the day, so tomorrow's post may or may not happen, When it does, it will be a show recap.
More to come ...
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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%: