From Endurance to Dressage
Oh, my. What a lesson we had on Wednesday!!!! Speedy G and I are in full show mode now with shows coming every couple of weeks. Our next show is a triple-rated, local event, the only one, so I want to do well.
As a side note, I have stunk it up at the two locals shows that I have done. What is it about showing in your back yard? I think I must sabotage myself in front of everyone I know on purpose. How do I get those 70s when I am two hours from home and no one knows me? There must be some type of corollary in there I am sure!
So back to wanting to do well. The schooling show from last weekend told me that we are definitely on the right track, but there is plenty of room for improvement. I showed my score sheets to JL who picked up right away that we need to start doing lots of figure eights and changes of direction. So that's what we did.
A figure eight in a lesson, I have discovered now twice in the last month, is not the shape of the tear drop eight that we draw in school. Instead, the figure eight is actually two very round circles that touch on their sides. The place where they touch creates an opportunity for straightness before changing the bend. Here's a picture of the correct figure.
JL sent us around the circle and told me to make the change to the other circle when I felt ready. As we passed through the "straight" section, I felt as though I was riding a wiggly noodle. Speedy wobbled back and forth beneath me. JL told me to try again, but this time, as I passed "F" tracking left toward "X", I was to make the turn with the outside leg and hand. (We don't actually have letters so that reference is just so you'll know where I was.)
Let's just say that the lightbulb that went on over my head would have rivaled any casino's light display on the Vegas strip. OMG is all I can say. I passed through the "straight" and made the turn toward H. It was effortless and Speedy stayed balanced and connected. I laughed out loud and exclaimed like an idiot, OH! My outside leg is the new inside leg! JL just nodded knowingly and asked, do you get it? Uh, yeah!
So why is this important? Again, OMG! Now as we make our corners, I can catch the outside shoulder but am then poised to push the ribcage out if he tries to fall in as we make the turn for a change in bend. This will be important for the trot loop in the Training Level 3 test. What an unbelievably simple idea ... why am I only just now getting it?
We did many transitions through the middle of the two circles and each one just got better and better. This was definitely another one of those game changer ideas. I can't wait to see how we do next weekend!
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%: