From Endurance to Dressage
I think the answer is always the same: he's a "young" horse and he can.
Why won't he just relax? See above.
Why won't he soften? See above.
Why won't he do any of the things that I want him to do? See above.
Before you start to worry, I am not mad, upset, frustrated (well, maybe a little), or threatening to sell my big brown horse. Instead, I am trying to find solutions. Knowing why he makes the choices he does helps me understand him better.
I've been doing a lot of thinking the past month or so and have landed on a few "explanations" (for lack of a better word) that seem to put Izzy's life choices in perspective.
First - I think the dude is slow to mature. At eight years old, he still acts an awful lot like a youngster. He's willful, brave one moment and terrified the next, and generally an all around dork. Compared to Speedy, who at one time was all of those things too, it's easy to see the lack of maturity. I've brought along quite a few young horses in my life, but Izzy has been the slowest of the bunch to "grow up."
Second - he's only been working under saddle for about 16 months. While he was started as a 4 year old, he had 60 days with a trainer and than a few months with his first owner. He was then in pasture or a paddock for the next two years. Essentially, Izzy has had to start over. While some horses can go from unbroke to the show ring in just six months, Izzy isn't one of them.
In just under a year and a half, we can now walk, trot, and canter pretty much when and where I want to. I can ride him out in the open without worrying about losing him. He trailers, stands tied to the trailer, and can be counted on not to rip the trailer apart. These are all small things, but I think he's learned a fair amount in a short amount of time. I need to remember that he has had to learn how to be a riding horse AND learn how to be a show pony all at the same time.
I've read some great comments from you all, and I really appreciate it. One comment that I really liked was from a rider whose horse would go through her bag of tricks in the same order. That really hit the nail on the head. Every time that Izzy and I get to a new place, we start all over with the theatrics. It wasn't until I read that comment that I realized that's what's been happening.
Other comments that have helped have been of the "who cares if it takes three years, go at the speed he needs" variety. That's been helpful to hear because it takes some of the pressure off my need to advance yearly.
Barring some unforeseen issue, Chemaine Hurtado, owner and trainer at Symphony Dressage Stables should be here in town this weekend for lessons. I really need her eyes on the ground and solutions. It feels like Izzy's throttle is simply stuck, and I've been chipping away at the problem, but I'd sure love to hear what she thinks.
With his motor running at such high RPM's Izzy can't get off his forehand and let go of the bit. I've been addressing it, but I am certain that Chemaine will have some new and creative exercises to get him to slow down a bit so that he can lighten his front end and get off my hands.
I always look forward to the weekend, but now I have an even bigger reason to welcome those two days of freedom. And to make it even better, I get Veteran's Day off too!
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 Second Level. He is a 2008, 16'3 hand warmblood gelding. His Rheinland Pfalz-saar International (RPSI) name is Imperioso.
CDS Sapphire Rider Award
Third Level: 63.514%
Third Level: 62.105%
2021 Show Season
(r) Ride-a-Test Clinic
(Q) Must Qualify
2021 Pending …
11/7-11/8 SB (***)
2021 Completed …
10/24-25 SCEC (***)
2021 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
2nd Level Qualifying
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%:
Score 1: 60.610% Bhathal
2nd Level Qualifying
5 Scores/4 Judges/61%:
Stuff I Read