From Endurance to Dressage
A New Feel
This may wander a bit as I am just thinking out loud, but I recently had one of those epiphanies where you think, How have I not known that? Or in my case, how have I not been able to feel that?
I've been riding with Chemaine Hurtado, owner and trainer at Symphony Dressage Stables, for several years now. While she does come up with new stuff all the time, there are some things she has to say over and over and over. Deeper and rounder are two such things. In fact, not long ago she felt compelled to clarify that deeper and rounder are the same thing. She must have felt the need to explain it that way because Speedy was obviously neither of the two, indicating that my comprehension was lacking.
I don't remember the exact moment that it happened, but one day, I heard Chemaine's voice in my head say flex him to the inside to put him on your outside rein. At that moment, I felt something physically click into place. The bend isn't for the bend's sake. It shapes the horse's body so that the horse can move the way we want him to. Inside bend and outside rein are my new holy grail.
Think about it, how crucial is it that our horses be on the outside rein? It's everything! That's how you get a half halt. That's how you get haunches in or a turn on the haunches or a canter depart. And since the layers go on and on, I know that there must be even more that I'll be able to get from my boys when they're actually on the outside rein.
The thing with finally internalizing the idea of getting a horse on the outside rein is that it leads to lots of other ahas! like getting the horse even on both reins. I knew what that meant, but like the idea of inside bend, I didn't know it in my bones. It was more vague; something I was trying to create. Now, I get it; I feel the unevenness and work to get my horses better balanced between my two reins.
That's both the frustration and beauty of dressage. There is always, always more to learn, and even when you get it, eventually, you'll find an even deeper understanding of a concept you thought you already understood.
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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%: