From Endurance to Dressage
Two weeks ago, I had a horrible lesson with Sydney. He spooked, bolted, whirled to the right, and absolutely refused any inside bend to the right. Repeatedly. Eventually, he gave in and softened on the inside rein and walked and trotted past the offensive spot in the arena, but it was very frustrating.
Two days later, we went through the same routine. This time, I asked for a 20-meter trot circle to the left. He simply couldn't do it. I spent forty-five minutes doing every suppling exercise I know, but the only answer he could give was to whirl and bolt. He never got more than a step away, but he kept trying.
Once he was willing to at least walk a ten-meter figure eight, I got off and decided that I was done. Not done with the ride, but done with riding him. Right then and there, I decided to sell him.
I walked in the door at home and burst into tears. My husband was worried of course, but when I blubbered out that I had decided to sell Sydney, his response was that he had figured that out long ago.
This is the first time in more than 30 years as a horse owner that I couldn't make it work. I've sold two because they couldn't handle the work physically, endurance is hard on horses that way, but it's never been because the horse couldn't handle the job mentally.
JL and I talked about my decision at length. She feels that dressage is simply too stressful for Sydney. I worry that I am just not an educated enough rider for a horse with his high level of anxiety. JL shook her head no to that idea, but still.
In any case, don't all break-ups go that way? It's not you, it's me.
Yesterday, my best friend in the whole wide world hopped in the truck with me to make the two and a half hour drive to Clovis. Sydney will be with Sport Equine until they can find a more suitable job for him. If you've been following our journey and think that you can give it a go, contact Debbie and go see him. He truly is a sweetheart.
So even though I am incredibly sad, I am even more relieved by the decision. I know it was the right choice, for both of us.
I am on the lookout for another horse, but my husband has suggested that I wait through the worst of the winter before buying again. So even though I am (kind of) waiting, I am keeping an ear close to the ground in case the right horse crosses my path.
So for now, it's just Speedy and me as we continue with Not-So-Speedy Dressage.
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%: