From Endurance to Dressage
Back on an Even Keel ... Or Nearly So
Wow. Things have been hectic at my house. There's work of course; that keeps me very busy five days a week. There has also been a fair amount of showing of late: 6 show days over an eight week period. Hubby and I also just spent a weekend at our cabin. This was the first Saturday that I've actually been home in several months.
I would have liked to have arrived at the barn after a leisurely morning at the house, but our temperatures have breeched the 90 degree range so it's back to early morning rides when possible. I lunged Speedy in the side reins first, more about that later, but then it was Sydney's turn.
He and I had a few bleh rides this past week so I was really looking forward to getting some solid work out of him. Riding after a full work day is hard. I am not as mentally sharp as I need to be, and my body is already tired before I even step into a stirrup. All of that equaled rides that weren't as productive as they needed to be.
Since Speedy had been a bit wild and wooly on the lunge, I suspected Sydney might be feeling fresh as well so he also did some lunge line work. Nothing wild happened, but he did toss in a few bucks, and he did give a few dig-in rounds on the line before I asked him to return to a more sensible tempo. Once I knew the worst of whatever was going to happen had happened. I brought him back to a walk and gave him lots of reassuring pats and hugs. I've learned that the lunge line is a bit stressful for him. I think (know) his previous owners used the lunge line simply to work out excess energy. But that's a different topic.
My riding plan was to focus on my hand and body position to see if I could have a positive effect on Sydney's position. I kept my hands low and really encouraged him to reach to the bit with my seat and legs. We did lots of circles, changes of direction, serpentines, and trot work down the long side.
I am finding that the best way to loosen up Sydney's neck and back is to do lots of changes of directions. We've been doing a lot of serpentines over the past week or so, and I find that if I pick up the canter after a few of those, his canter is lighter, and it is easier to move his shoulders.
I am really happy with the work that he is doing for me. He can reach so nicely for the contact when he is relaxed and his canter, both to the left and right, has come a long, long way. We can now easily make the turn at A to go down the centerline and we can even do a three loop serpentine. We'll continue to do what we can to work on suppleness and will hope that he can give me at least half of what he can do at home at his next show.
I am so very glad that I stuck it out with this boy. He is a very nice horse!
5/1/2013 10:38:17 pm
Speedy is the one who anticipates; Sydney could do the same circle 5,000 times and be just as satisfied. Doing that doesn't supple him up though. I am finding that with him the changes make him try harder, he focuses more on me, and it does loosen up his whole body. :0)
5/1/2013 10:43:20 pm
I think it bothers Sydney because is such a people pleaser that it makes him feel as though he is failing when I keep sending him away. I don't use a whip with him and I change the size of the circle so that sometimes he is asked to come in. he is much, much better than he was when I first got him, but lunging is not fun for him. Speedy, on the other hand, thinks lunging is a great game!
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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
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CDS Sapphire Rider Award
Third Level: 63.514%
Third Level: 62.105%
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