From Endurance to Dressage
This is the first time that I've wondered whether Speedy can actually do the work I am asking of him. From Intro through Second Level, I knew he could do the movements. How hard is it to do a stretchy trot circle or lengthen your stride just that little bit more?
Over the years, plenty of doubters have questioned whether or not Speedy could move up the levels. He's an Arab, it will be too hard for him. His back is too long. His back is too short. His croup is too high. His neck is set too low. A lot of doubters.
All along, I've defended him saying that every horse can walk, trot, and canter. That's really all that First Level asks for. For Second Level, we finally needed to stretch ourselves a bit. It wasn't easy; we had to dig deeper than we had before. Even so, we got it together and came out of the season with more "wins" than I ever thought we'd get.
Now we're schooling the movements from Third Level. The changes are coming; I am definitely feeling what we need to do to make them happen. They're not easy, of course, but Speedy's getting the idea. Over the weekend, he actually threw in a change before I asked for it which means we're making progress toward a new and different problem.
It's the lateral movements that are killing us. He just can not get the half pass at trot. To the right, we've got something that looks passable, but it's practically in slow motion. To the left, forget it. He simply will not soften on the left side.
Chemaine said something the other day that really stuck. When I can get the correct bend, I can get out of the way so that he can bring his haunches around for the half pass. That idea is what helped me get any sort trot half pass to the right, and the canter half pass? Forget about it. I can't get anything.
Right now, I am beating myself up. Am I asking for too much? Are my expectations simply too high? Does he need more strength? Am I going too fast? Was Second Level the best he can do? And the hardest question I ask myself, can he even do Third Level?
The whole thing is made even more discouraging since Izzy's trot half pass, walk pirouettes, and walk to canter are all already better than Speedy's. Izzy is far more talented, but it all comes with a lot more drama.
I really want to get Speedy to Third. He deserves it. I just don't know if he can do 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%: