From Endurance to Dressage
For me, one of the very best things about a two-day clinic is that I get a chance to think about what happened on the first day and ask follow up questions on the next day.
Speedy threw a big fit about the leg yields on Saturday. I started questioning whether I was causing the problem by asking for way too much cross over. I suspected that he was getting frustrated with me if he was crossing that hind leg as far as he could. Was I asking for more than he could give?
I warmed Speedy up, but then I asked Chemaine to school him through the leg yields before I had a chance to irritate him. When I saw how he behaved with her, I realized it wasn't me after all. The leg yield was just hard for him, and he was expressing his opinion about it. I got a quick screen shot with Chemaine asking for the leg yield left, the same one we struggled with the day before.
Chemaine rode him for a while, first at the walk and then at the trot. In the first video clip (00:32 seconds), she is showing him what she wants at the walk.
Then she moved on to the leg yield at the trot (1:01seconds).
As an adult amateur who doesn't have her horse in full training, I might be responsible for some lapses in my horse's training. Regular trainer rides would be awesome.
One of the things I am guilty of is not asking for enough forward. It's not because I don't want more forward, but it's more difficult to balance and be effective in my aids with a bigger, more powerful stride. As such, Speedy just gets pokier and pokier, and I just tootle around oblivious to the power of which he is capable.
After working on the leg yields for a few minutes, Chemaine worked on Speedy's go forward button. When I got back on him, he practically lost me when he shot forward into a much more powerful trot. All I can say is give me more of that please! Everything was so much easier with a horse who was truly in front of my leg!
We also reviewed some of the work from the day before by repeating the 10-meter circle to shoulder in exercise as well as some work on how to use the short side more strategically. I tend to let Speedy lose all of his impulsion on the short side as I prepare for the next corner.
Chemaine pointed out that judges really respect riders who can maintain that energy even along the short side, so she had me ride laps around the arena. I half halted in all four corners, but I tried to push Speedy into a more energetic trot on the short sides as well as the long sides.
Before we finished for the day, I wanted to show Chemaine some of the walk to canter work that I've been doing with Speedy. While none of it was perfect, Chemaine was pretty pleased with where we are. I know we were both remembering how just a year ago Speedy would kick out and buck at the canter transitions. Now, I can canter to trot to canter wherever and whenever I'd like with a very willing partner.
In this video (01:15 seconds), we're working on some canter transitions.
And in this one (1:01) we're focusing on lifting his withers and doing a walk to canter transition.
I am eagerly awaiting our next lesson!
Tomorrow, my second lesson with Izzy.
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%: