From Endurance to Dressage
Last week and the week before, I finally, FINALLY got lessons after nearly three months! So many things happened this summer that kept me out of the ring.
Some time during the spring, Sean was lamenting the loss of opportunities in Ventura County. The shows were getting smaller and smaller, and trainers and riders were leaving the area. I asked Sean if he would ever considering moving to Florida. I should have kept my mouth shut. When we returned from Europe, Sean broke the news - he was taking the leap and heading to Ocala, Florida permanently. I was thrilled for what moving could do for his career, but disappointed in what that meant for me.
With Izzy finally sound and his wound just about closed up, I put in a few rides just to see if we were ready for a lesson. I reached out to Sean to check his availability, and we planned for a Tuesday afternoon. The bonus to him being in Florida is that he finishes his day three hours before I finish mine. This means I can now ride in the afternoon while he coaches me from home in the evening.
Having a lesson after school works great for me, but it presents a few challenges. I have to change clothes in the truck - which I already do, and I have to set up my Pivo Pod in a different location because of the angle of the sun. Sean had never before seen the A end of my arena because I've always ridden in the morning.
To my surprise both of the lessons we've had these past two weeks have gone really well. The first couple of working rides on Izzy after his pastern was healed enough for a real ride were a bit dicey. With Sean's coaching though, I was able to diffuse those moments, and since then, Izzy has a been a pleasure to ride.
For both lessons, Sean has had me ride Izzy in a deeper frame to he left but a little more up in the bridle to the right. Izzy's balance is a little weak right now, but the more I ride, the more sure of himself he is becoming. In the leg yields, Sean wants me to push him so that Izzy has to really cross his legs as that seems to help him let go of the tension in his back.
The final thing I've been working on is slow and gradual changes of bend in the canter. Izzy is really worried about the flying changes even though I haven't asked for any since May. Over the weekend, I was finally able to do a change of lead through trot-to-walk-to canter. I wanted him to be completely relaxed before picking up the new lead, and doing it through trot-to-walk reduced all of the tension.
I love doing a lesson during the week instead of on Saturdays because it gives me all weekend to work on things. It also gives Sean his weekends to do whatever he wants, and from what he's told me, Florida has a lot to offer. We have another lesson this afternoon.
It's good to be back on a schedule.
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%: