From Endurance to Dressage
After Saturday's marathon of a day, I woke up tired and ready to just head home. Dinner had gone so late that I barely touched my food (I am an early bird), and frankly, I was just wore out from such an intense clinic. Whether by luck or design, I tend to ride with trainers who find the lighter side to dressage. That's not how Hilda Gurney operates. But then, maybe that's what it takes to get to the Olympics. If so, I am not getting there any time soon.
I was first up for the day with an 8:00 ride time. Best friend and I had an early breakfast, checked out of our hotel, and arrived at W Farms by 7:00. I tacked up as usual and trudged up to the arena. I wasn't exactly looking forward to another beating, but if nothing else, I am a "trier," and I really want to learn.
The lesson went pretty similarly to the one I had on Saturday, but this time, Hilda seemed to give me a bit more credit than she had the day before. I still heard about all the problems with my seat and aids, but she offered better constructive feedback.
When Speedy had difficulty picking up the canter, she realized that I was putting my outside thigh too far back. She instructed me to swing my leg back from the knee only which helped me keep my seat bones in the saddle.
We retackled my sitting trot, but this time, she insisted I sit back and she reminded me every single stride. I finally realized that she wasn't talking about my shoulders only, but that she meant to sit back ON my seat bones. Yeah, I've only heard that about 10,000 times, but with her relentless coaching, I finally plugged my seat into that saddle and kept it there. I couldn't help it; I smiled!
While the "yell at you until you get it right or quit" style of teaching isn't how I best learn, I still had some great take aways. That trick about "fluffing the reins" - putting your hands closer together and raising them to lift a horse's head will serve me well, especially with Speedy. Feeling where I need to be for the sitting trot will also help me get to Second Level sooner. And finally, fixing the twist in my body by putting only my lower leg back will definitely help in the simple change, and some day in the distant future, flying changes.
I still have some thoughts I'd like to share about the clinic, but they seem a bit woe is me even to me, so I am trying to figure out how to share without sounding like a cry baby. I am looking for that humorous twist on the story. I'll see if I can get it by tomorrow.
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
*** SCEC 10/15-16/22
2022 Completed …
(*) Tehachapi 5/22/22
(*) Tehachapi 7/24/22
(***) Tehachapi 8/28/22
2023 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
Qualifying Training Level
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%:
Score 1: 62.115%