From Endurance to Dressage
For 2013 alone, this makes number 11 for me, number 4 for Sydney, with 2 more to go, both on my Kiwi. I am sure this will be in another post, but I really need to do a break down of how many tests I've ridden this year. I bet it will be close to 30 by the time the season is over. Even so, I am feeling some anxiety about tomorrow.
Tomorrow morning Sydney and I will be heading to the Hansen Dam Equestrian Center (HDEC) for an unrated schooling show. Claudia Roberts, the show manager, said that she is scheduling 40 rides for Sunday's event. That's quite a few for this particular series. Most of the time it's a small, quiet group. I know they've added western dressage to the class list so I expect that has something to do with the increase in participation.
It's a two hour drive to HDEC, and we have pretty early ride times; Introductory C at 9:24 with Training Level Test 1 following right after at 9:36. I sure hope we don't need a second warm-up!
All week we've been working on our canter departure. When Sydney's tense, that's where his tension really shows through. Fortunately, something spooked him during Friday's lesson so I got a chance to work on the canter departures while he was "show high."
JL had me really focus on two things; when asking for a left lead canter, I really need to make sure I keep my shoulders back, especially the left one, as I have a tendency to "let him go" as I ask for the departure. Along with that, I need to use as subtle an aid as possible when I ask. He's already going to be in front of my leg; he doesn't need a loud request. If my legs are in position, all I really need to do is scoop my seat just a little bit and he'll make the transition.
The other thing I am going to need to focus on is keeping him balanced to the right. If he's really tense, I am going to need a lot of inside leg to move him sideways which means I need to be really secure with my outside rein. Once he relaxes (I can hope), he'll need less inside leg and a lot more outside leg to inside hand. And when we pick up the right lead canter, I have to really make sure that he is off that inside rein. If I let him grab it, he's going to fall off the "balance beam" and panic.
We decided that I need to focus not on getting a relaxed horse as in on the buckle; that isn't going to happen. Instead, she wants me to think about having him feel secure. For him, that means "tight" and supportive aids, no loosey-goosey anything. I told her that in dressage, it is sometimes referred to as positive tension. She liked that moniker.
My plan is to keep him moving forward, use a lot of leg to support him when he loses his balance, and follow his mouth with my hands no matter how high I have to go. If he's a freight train, we'll canter and do our small, counter bent canter circle. If he's too light in the bridle, we'll trot until we can establish a rhythm.
Today, I'll get him bathed and braided and load up my tack. By 5:45 a.m. tomorrow morning, we'll be on the road. See you on Monday!
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%: