From Endurance to Dressage
Over the weekend, the ranch owner and I did another trail ride. She has a really nice mare, a Missouri Foxtrotter, named All In, Alli for short. The mare is well trained and doesn't have a mean bone in her body, but she does need some confidence from her rider.
Like many of us have experienced at one time or another, the ranch owner is struggling with her confidence. A few tough horses in a row has led her to ride a bit defensively.The good thing is that she is well aware of the issue and is working steadfastly to overcome the bit of anxiety that comes from a spook.
As we were nearing the end of our ride on Sunday, we rode by Izzy's paddock toward the river. He gave a squeal and charged down the fence line behind us. Alli spooked which caused the ranch owner to tighten her own body. Suddenly both horse and rider were tense and anxious.
Knowing very well what it feels like to be on a horse who has forgotten you're up there, I asked Speedy to halt and then reminded the ranch owner of what she knows to do. I told her to flex Alli to the side to release the tension in her neck and then to flex her the other way. I reminded her to move Alli's haunches by doing a small circle. All the while I assured the ranch owner that Speedy wasn't in a hurry and that she should take all the time she needed to get Alli's attention back on her.
Within just a minute or two, Alli's neck began to soften and she and the ranch owner both let out a breath. Knowing that the ranch owner was still feeling a bit tense, I suggested we let the horses graze in the shade down by the river. I once read that grazing lets a horse's brain roll back into place. Sure enough, in no time at all, Alli lost any thought of doing anything worrisome.
When we finally got back to the tack room, the ranch owner thanked me for being so patient. I made it clear that every single rider has felt with fear, including myself. When Speedy was a youngster, he tossed me into a fence after bolting. My helmet cracked, and my confidence took a big hit. For a good six months I was terrified each time I got on him. Many friends held him for me while I got on or rode with me while I battled anxiety. It wasn't easy, but eventually the fear vanished.
I am more than happy to return the favor.
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%: