From Endurance to Dressage
Years ago, I needed more intentional feedback from my coach or trainer. Am I really making progress? Be specific, please. These days, I know for a fact that progress is being made, even if it's not slow. I'm greedy, I can't help it.
Anyhoodle, the reason I bring this up is because "J" has been back on schedule riding Speedy, and I hear that same need in her voice. Are you sure I am getting better? People say I am, but am I really? I know what she's looking for. I've been on the path she's traveling, and in fact, I am still there. I may be a bit further ahead, but struggle is struggle no matter your riding level. She wants to make sure she's not wasting her time or mine. No one wants to struggle week after week if there isn't any progress.
The last time she rode, two weeks ago, she had a pretty big breakthrough. It's the same one I once had with Speedy. He's such a diva that he cons everyone into going gently with him. None of his riders ever want to take hold and insist. Halfway through J's last ride, I had her get off and I got on. I showed her how much insisting Speedy could take. When she got back on him, I saw a new level of determination on her face. And you know what, he snapped to and started working for real.
When she came out this weekend, we were able to work on some lateral movements because she finally took hold and asked. She asked so well that Speedy started to anticipate her aids which meant we had to remind him that J could also whisper. I had J think about a completely mental aid, one that is simply the thought ... canter. If Speedy couldn't hear a whisper, then the ask aid - lifting a seat bone. And finally, if he really wasn't listening, the I mean it! aid which might come with a sharper kick.
Wouldn't you know it, Speedy started to look fancy. And I mean hot stuff fancy. The dude is well into his eighteenth year, but you wouldn't know it. So when J asked if she was getting better or not, I told her that the way to know is to pay attention to the kind of lesson you're having. Is it the same thing you've been working on month after month, or are you learning something new? If you're learning something new, you're making excellent progress.
With that kind of thinking, I am making progress too, even though it doesn't always feel like it.
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%: