From Endurance to Dressage
It was such a HUGE aha moment that I felt like I had literally invented the idea! I wrote this the other day, I need to trust the contact that I have, sit back, and scoop him UP into the right lead canter. Well, I had my chance to give it a try on Sunday, and I am here to say hallelujah!
When I told my trainer about my "epiphany," she just laughed and said that in a way it was a brand new concept. She said it has to do with the whole right brain/left brain thing (a topic on which science does not yet have agreement). One side of my brain (probably the logical) has heard this all before; the right side (creative side) finally connected the right neurons and viola, a whole new concept was understood!
For whatever reason (I seem to say that a lot), Sydney was not so Captain Awesome over the weekend. He wanted to rush, be heavy, spook, run off … you name it. I was actually glad for all of his shenanigans because it gave me an opportunity to work on that kind of crap in preparation for shows and clinics.
He was particularly naughty on Sunday, but I stuck to my guns. When he wanted to rush, I planted both hands firmly on my bucking strap, and I used as much leg as I could to send him sideways. I don't feel the need to pull back anymore, but it takes a lot of core strength to send him sideways without letting him pull me forward. My puny little biceps were flat out bulging!
We did quite a few leg yields from the quarter line to H to C to down the next quarter line to F and back to A, all on the right bend. I just kept at it until he finally realized that he was getting nowhere fast. We took a walk break, and then I decided to work on that right lead canter.
It was perfectly awful, but in a perfect way! As I prepared for the canter departure, the sequence of aids literally presented themselves in my mind so clearly that I felt as though they were original thoughts. It seemed so simple: I didn't shorten my reins. I sat up. I cued him for the canter by scooping with my seat while holding that outside rein firm.
I'd like to say that he simply rolled into a lovely canter, but he didn't. But what was great, was that I kept him packaged together until his legs finally got going in the right rhythm. He tried to snatch the outside rein, but I simply held it firmly while while sending him sideways with my inside leg. He had nowhere else to go but forward into the canter, and I actually felt him lift into it.
While none of our efforts were perfect, I finally get what needs to happen to get that lovely canter departure we've been aiming for. And best of all, I didn't feel any sense of being out of control.
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%
2022 Show Season
(r) Ride-a-Test Clinic
2022 Show Schedule
2022 Completed …
(*) Tehachapi 5/22/22
(*) Tehachapi 7/24/22
(***) Tehachapi 8/28/22
2023 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%:
Score 1: 62.115%