From Endurance to Dressage
For a good Second Level test, Speedy and I need to get a better medium and collected canter which will lead to a cleaner canter to walk transition in the simple change. As I mentioned on Tuesday, we're struggling with this because Speedy is so behind my leg.
When I met with Chemaine on Friday, I described it like this: Speedy is either stalling out behind, or he's running off on his forehand with his nose in the air - sometimes both at the same time!
We started the lesson by getting him more responsive to my leg. Once Speedy was thoroughly in front of my leg, we had to work on getting him to accept the contact while he pushes from behind. The transition from medium canter to collected canter is where we have the most trouble because he doesn't want to sit.
The exercise was supposed to go like this: medium canter from one letter to the next while counting strides. In between the next two letters, I was to get more strides as he collected, and then between the next two letters, fewer strides as he lengthened. Once in a medium canter however, I couldn't get the smaller strides in a collected canter because Speedy plowed through my hands.
Instead of counting, Chemaine modified the exercise to just getting him to come back slightly while I insisted on keeping his head out of the sky as I drove him forward into the contact with my seat and legs. Like this:
In the video, you can see where he decided to ignore my leg because he stopped pushing forward. Like before, he was choosing to listen to my hand or my leg, but not both. I had to use the whip, he kicked out, so I had to use the whip again.
When I ask for the collected canter, Speedy doesn't want to keep pushing from the hind end - he wants to slam on the brakes which means I have to use a TON of leg to keep him going forward. I can't squeeze hard enough, and he now ignores my spurs, so it's more whip work for him. Do you see how this is all related to being behind my leg?
As we played around with this exercise, Speedy started to get softer and rounder over his topline, especially once he realized that I wasn't going to hold him in the collected canter for more than a few strides.
While it's tough to have a horse a bit on the lazy side, Chemaine pointed out that's why Speedy is so happy to tote around kids, non-riders, or strangers. It might be difficult at times to get his butt moving, but he can do it, and with a bit more work, it'll get easier for him.
In the meantime, I still have my good natured pony who is happy to pack me around bareback in a halter as long as I don't ask him to do it very quickly!
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%: