From Endurance to Dressage
This blog has always been for the Underdog and not for the DQ. Frankly, people who can only share their ooh-la-la successes, but shy away from admitting that occasionally things go wrong, kind of bug me. If you're one of those people, feel free to stop reading. I am really writing for myself (mostly), but the overall point is to show the rest of the riding world that anybody can do this if they give it at least half an ounce of effort. You don't have to have a $50,000 horse and a world renowned trainer.
I have a pretty self-depracating sense of humor. I enjoy poking fun at myself, and I can handle a fair amount of poking from other people. I am far more likely to point out my flaws than to share my strengths. I am quick to share the successes of my horses, but slow to share their problems. They work hard for me, and I want to focus on their triumphs rather than their bad days (which are no doubt my fault anyway).
So to share a riding brag about myself kind of goes against the grain. But here it is.
Since Monday was a holiday, JL and I moved my regular Wednesday night lesson to Monday morning. We started out with a quick chat like we always do so that I could share with her what had been going well and what we got stuck on. I confessed that I had started cantering Sydney. I expected a bit of a tsk, tsk as she had not thought he was quite ready for canter work. Instead, her face lit up and she excitedly informed me that while looking out her window, she had seen a lovely bay horse cantering in the distance. She looked more closely and realized that it had to be Sydney and me. She was genuinely excited by the picture we presented.
I was flattered by her revelation and quickly explained that I had decided that I needed to do whatever it took to get control of Sydney's feet. Cantering him wasn't about not following her training program. It had just happened. She agreed wholeheartedly and added that it's important to use teachable moments when they present themselves. Whew!
We had one of our better lessons that morning. It seemed as though everything we've worked on finally came together. We worked on moving sideways by using the inside leg to the outside rein. I asked him to reach for the contact by keeping it steady and not pulling back. To help Sydney "bend" his ribcage, JL had me keep his nose inside the circle instead of looking out (my fault).
While his behavior wasn't absolutely perfect, I was able to very, very quickly diffuse his offer of naughtiness by making the circle smaller, bending his neck to the inside, and pushing his ribcage out. It's a movement that almost immediately softens his neck and lowers his poll. Success!
After the bulk of the softening exercises, I asked JL if I could show her our canter work. She quickly agreed and watched us get to work. Sydney's canter to the left is already good, but with her direction to lift with the outside rein as his withers came up, we were floating. Canter to the right will come another day. It needs a bit of work, or rather, I need to learn to help him get balanced and soft.
So how did I start this thing off with a Teeny Tiny Brag only to end up pointing out what I still don't know? Go ahead, poke away. I can take it!
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%: