From Endurance to Dressage
I am a little frustrated with the world's most awesome pony. While I adore Speedy and am grateful to have such a Steady Eddy, I am beginning to wonder if he has reached his full potential.
He now has a "go" button installed, but everything else has gone to hell. In an effort to teach him to listen to my leg, I quit wearing spurs because he had learned to ignore them. He now listens to my leg for forward, but he has lost any bit of suppleness through his poll and back. The lateral work, never great to begin with, now only comes if I whack him with the whip.
He has also gotten pretty heavy in my hand, so I thought I should change his bit to something with more tongue relief. After all, that worked miracles with Izzy. HAHAHAHAHAHA. Nope.
I tried Izzy's as of yet unused wide low ported bit with loose rings. It was a complete and total disaster. Speedy braced his neck and locked his jaw around that bit. I had no brakes and could not get a single lightened stride from him. The "go" was still there, but the lateral work was even worse.
This weekend is the CDS Adult Amateur Clinic with Hilda Gurney serving as the clinician. I am really hoping that she can help me figure this thing out. Does Speedy just need more time to build strength for the new level of collection that I am expecting? Has he simply reached his maximum ability level? Are my aids that unclear?
Looking for answers, hoping for results!
5/12/2017 05:36:33 am
It was, and he went great in our regular bit, and Hilda actually LIKED it!
5/4/2017 08:34:55 am
I found the same thing happened to my young horse when I started asking for more forward movement (speed). He got stiff and bracey, and even got upside down in the neck looking at the stars. I think they just have to learn to reuse and rebalance themselves as they go more forward. I don't think a different bit, or bigger bit would solve the problem. I would just go back to baby steps in getting the softness and suppleness again but maintaining the more forward motion. My theory has always been to show them what to do first (more forward) then show them how to do it (but with suppleness). You have the forward, now redevelop the suppleness at that same speed. Good luck!
5/12/2017 05:37:17 am
Yep. You're right. Thanks for reminding me of that. :0)
5/12/2017 05:38:07 am
We never had to work on forward at the clinic, and Hilda liked the bit we're in. Go figure. :0)
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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
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%: