From Endurance to Dressage
The angels in Heaven are singing. Hallelujah!
I am not kidding. Sydney and I connected in the most unbelievable way on Tuesday evening. My goal with him over these last few weeks has just been softness with relaxation. I finally got both. We started out with a bit of a walk and I was VERY happy to notice that I was holding the reins between the second and third rein stop. No big deal to most of the world, but for us, it was huge! If you are just joining me, we normally start at the third stop from the bit end and work very hard to arrive at the second stop from the bit end.
We did some of our regular walking where I gently squeeze him forward while just as gently squeeze each rein. As soon as his head and neck come down in a stretch, I relax my seat and stop pulsing the rein. Over and over we went until I felt ready for a trot. I asked him to move forward and his head popped up, but not by much. I started with some rein sliding back and forth, but quickly realized that he was pretty darn soft so I steadied my hands and held them right in front of me. As he braced and lifted his head, I squeezed with my seat and legs while pulling my shoulder blades back. Rather than hold my hands steady, like I would for Speedy, I pulsed each hand. Little by little, Sydney got softer, and for the first time, looser.
I am pretty certain that if you look on the dressage pyramid, you won't find the word looser, but that's how he felt. And after more of this squeezing and pulsing, I felt the most amazing sensation. All of sudden, and I don't mean to be dramatic, but that's how it felt, Sydney's withers came up and I felt the most incredible swing through his back. His neck reached way down and he got completely soft and free. I laughed out loud.
What a feeling!
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%: