From Endurance to Dressage
Speedy and I are still chipping away at the elements of Second Level which most recently have included collection. While schooling the simple change through walk on Wednesday, I had the most distinct AHA.
Our walk to canter has gotten pretty show worthy. I am not going to say it's 10-worthy, but it is consistent. He still wants to pop his head occasionally, but he's starting to figure out how to really push off from his hind end when I insist on it.
The canter to walk, the other part of the simple change, is where we've had more trouble. I just can't get a true walk unless I haul back on the reins, and then it's a rather ugly transition.
One of the exercises I've been doing is cantering three strides by counting down: three, two, one. On the one, I ask for the walk. I then change the bend and pick up the other canter lead, again counting down to the walk. Sometimes he does a great downward transition, and other times not so much.
While I ride, I have a running dialogue in my head. Usually it's with Chemaine Hurtado, owner and trainer at Symphony Dressage Stables, but occasionally I just talk myself through what I am trying to accomplish.
On Wednesday, I am not sure whose voice I was hearing, but I heard Speedy can't walk while he's leaning on your hands. Get him soft before you ask. That must have been Chemaine as that sounds like something she'd say. So for the next canter to walk transition, I counted down, but as I did so, I also asked for him to get soft. To my amazement, he stepped softly into a walk. I actually whooped out loud.
To make sure it wasn't simply a lucky moment, I told Speedy we were going to do a few more just to see. Sure enough, when I got him soft before I asked for the walk, the downward transition was lovely.
Each piece of Second Level is getting closer to being confirmed. Now we just need to start connecting those pieces together so that it all looks "easy." I'll let you know when that happens.
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
*** SCEC 10/15-16/22
2022 Completed …
(*) Tehachapi 5/22/22
(*) Tehachapi 7/24/22
(***) Tehachapi 8/28/22
2023 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
Qualifying Training Level
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%:
Score 1: 62.115%