From Endurance to Dressage
I can tell you right now that Speedy is not going to dig this whole new "Izzy the Zweibrücker" thing. He loves being an only child. In fact, he's gotten a bit spoiled in the last few weeks. He practically stamps his little hooves if I hang out in the tack room for longer than he thinks is necessary. If I leave his sight for more than two minutes, he starts singing at me, "where are yoooooouuuuuu?"
Little stinker …
So right now, I KNOW he is saying, "enough of this Izzy business, let's get back to SPEEDY dressage …"
We had a very interesting lesson on Monday night. JL reminded me that Speedy knows the canter cue, but now we need to improve the canter. He gets the correct lead every time, but what he doesn't want to do is push off with his inside hind leg. He wants to claw his way into the canter and then run off. This is not pretty and it definitely won't get us to Second Level. [OMG … we just made it to First Level and look at me, I already have us moving up again. Don't get too cocky there, Sweaney]
The canter needs one main thing - a good, forward moving trot. When Speedy's hind end is really engaged, he rolls into the canter perfectly. When his hind end is trailing behind, he has to hoist himself into the canter which comes with the whole head flinging into the air thing - ugly!
JL's suggestion is to first get him in front of my leg. Don't worry about how he looks or where his head is … get his butt moving. Once he is active behind, I can start working on slowing down the front end so that it matches the hind legs. This is easier said than done.
After a number of attempts, I finally felt what she was talking about. If he's leaning on me, he can't roll into the canter. If he's sucking back, he can't pick up a nice canter either. My task is to get him right in the middle. So that's what we worked on: me developing a good feeling for the right trot.
Once Speedy was actively forward, I couldn't stop him from picking up a balanced canter. He's so dang smart that once he figured out what we were doing, he kept offering the canter instead of waiting for me to cue him. Again, he's a stinker!
That's all tracking left. To the right is another story. It is really hard to get Speedy on the outside, left rein. He really wants to hollow out his left side and throw his haunches out. JL had me tackle that problem by having him crab into the circle (Thanks, Sydney - you taught me how to ride that!) while softening the inside rein.
To be successful at First Level, our canter work really needs to get better. Both JL and Chemaine think out trot work is coming along nicely. Now, the canter is on my must master list. I think we're getting there!
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%: