From Endurance to Dressage
You probably already know that I am a teacher - 5th grade. That means that I am on summer break. I usually give myself the whole month of June to NOT WORK. After that, my afternoons are spent prepping for the next school year. Each time I pass by my office door though, a pile of file boxes lie there taunting me.
All of this means that I have five days a week to do absolutely nothing but ride every morning. And I do. Mostly. There are those days where we might go up to the cabin, but outside of that, I ride every morning. I kind of treat it like my job. If I didn't, I might not ever get out of bed. As it is, I get up with my husband, or just before, and make sure that I am heading to the barn no later than 7:00 a.m.
This is all great news for me. Who doesn't want to ride every morning while it's still cool? That is a relative term of course as it is still pretty warm here. I just checked this week's weather. Big sigh.
It gets worse. Our lows are still super low which make those 100 degree days bearable. I don't know what people with "normal" jobs do. How can anyone ride when it's 108?
The bad news in all of this is that riding two horses five days a week means you get pretty boring posts. This is the time of year when I can just school, school, school without feeling any pressure to get the next thing done. When I ride after work, I know that I only have so much time, so something fantastic better happen in those 15 minutes.
Not so when you have two months in which to get it done. Right now, I ride Speedy for about twenty-five minutes. We walk for a minute or two, then I let him do a long and low stretchy trot, and then we school one or two things. This week, it has been the leg yield and canter departures.
Since I ride Speedy every day, I have to be very careful about how much I ask of him. He would get very cranky if I tried to do forty-five minute rides every day. As it is, even twenty-five minutes day after day tends to piss him off. Yesterday we did a 30 minute hack around the neighborhood since he'll be in the trailer for five hours today with a forty-five minute lesson with Chemaine.
Izzy seems to thrive on the daily grind. I ride him thirty-five minutes, more if it's a lesson day. Yesterday we had a lesson. And to my surprise, it didn't involve 20-meter circles. JL felt that his rhythm and steadiness in the bridle were coming along nicely which meant he was ready for changes of direction and a shorter rein.
As we were tracking right, JL noticed that Izzy was getting sticky in that outside shoulder. He just wasn't turning off my outside leg as well as he should have so we spent the lesson on some lateral work. It's an exercise we taught Sydney, but Izzy got it much quicker.
While tracking right, I find a spot where I can straighten him for a stride and then I use my outside leg to almost leg yield to the right. As soon as he shifts his weight, I turn him left and push him out, out, out with what is now my inside leg. The purpose of the exercise is to get his shoulders back in front of his hind end and get him listening to my left leg.
So now our homework is refining that 20-meter circle and controlling that outside shoulder. Be prepared for more boring!
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%: