From Endurance to Dressage
It's not often that I get a lesson two weeks in a row, but last week I did. Chemaine Hurtado, owner and trainer at Symphony Dressage Stables was able to come for a lesson on Friday afternoon. And since Speedy is still in recovery mode, Izzy was called up again.
It was a perfectly horrible day for a lesson. The wind was howling as it scattered leaves across the arena, and the trees were snapping and crackling. Even I didn't really want to ride. Funky, crappy weather is just what Izzy needs though. He loves warm mellow sunshine and is always easy to ride on those days. I was delighted to have a lesson with such distracting conditions.
Not only was the weather funky, but I hadn't even ridden Izzy since the last lesson five days prior. He warmed up like you'd expect. His back was tight and he was flinching at every odd sound.
Since we'd worked on getting him more "through" the week before, I insisted that he come up to the bit by adding a boatload of leg. Since he was already in flight mode, Chemaine had me take advantage of that energy and direct it forward.
Even just six months ago, adding so much leg would have caused Izzy to have a meltdown. He's grown up some over the past year though and handled it like a pro. No matter what he did, Chemaine insisted that I keep leg on, especially when he spooked or got balky. She also had me drive him forward with my seat. The whole purpose was to get his hind legs stepping further underneath him.
Like the lesson before this one, it was boring. We stayed on the 20-meter circle, and sometimes smaller, just insisting that he lift his back and push with his hind end. Focusing solely on the quality of his gait rather than on any particular movement gave me a new feel.
Quite often I ride Izzy with a lighter seat as I coast along. Focusing on driving him with my seat gave me a connected feeling that I really haven't experienced before. When I hopped up on him the next day, I kept those two things in mind: add leg to push him up to the bridle, and drive him forward with my seat.
As a team, Izzy and I are not taking a liner path up the levels. We might do a canter half pass one day but then struggle with a stretchy trot the next. As complicated as he is to ride, I sure do dig my big brown horse.
Now if only the weather would cooperate.
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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%: