From Endurance to Dressage
A good ride day feels a lot like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or a bowl of piping hot mac and cheese. It's comforting, it's cozy, and it makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
This past week, my rides on Izzy have been like opening the fridge to make a meal and finding only crap: horse radish, sauerkraut, capers, and a left over jar of curry sauce. Sure, those things all go in something that can be good (not the sauerkraut - you suck, sauerkraut), but on their own, they're horrible.
Last night, Izzy made me feel like I do when I eat a PB&J on really fresh bread with some Lay's potato chips on the side and an icy cold Coke to wash it all down. He was that good. Finally.
He's been a real bear this past week. I honestly started to wonder if his magnesium supplement was getting dumped on the ground or maybe someone was giving him straight alfalfa. He was a complete ass under saddle. His ground manners were as good as ever, but the second I asked for a trot, all bets were off.
When I rode yesterday, I kept the whip in my hand for the first few minutes of trot work, but he never even hesitated when I asked for that first walk to trot transition. That's been where the trouble has been showing up. I had actually quit riding with the whip because he had quit throwing fits. I still brought it out with me, but I hadn't needed to carry it for several weeks. I might need to ride with it again for a few rides.
Not only did he willingly pick up a trot, but we were once again able to work on the canter. To the left, the transition still comes with a head fling, but at least it's relatively prompt, and we can easily hold a 20-meter circle. To the right, the departure was also more or less where I asked for it.
In the Introductory C test, the canter is picked up somewhere in the circle and stops somewhere later in the circle. That's about where we are. I can get it somewhere in the first half of the circle and get us back to trot before we get back around to where we started.
Last night, we got the right lead canter without a fight and again, he held it as we cantered a 20-meter circle. It's not perfect, and there is a LOT of STRONG half halting on my part, but he can canter to the right without cross cantering or doing a flying change. This is huge.
Just last month, we finally got a right lead canter and sort of, kind of, almost held it if we careened around the entire arena with me in two-point. Yesterday, he gave me a place to sit and after several go rounds with more than a few super strong half halts, he dropped his neck and relaxed into a very lovely and correct right lead canter.
I'll have another order of that PB& J to go please!
4/6/2016 05:17:10 pm
It's not that I want others to struggle, but it gets pretty discouraging to read about good ride after good ride. I ALWAYS appreciate it when someone writes about their own struggles. I don't like to focus on the negative, but believe me, he's only good about 50% of the time. He is getting better, but it's taking a lot of work. :0)
4/1/2016 06:37:04 am
I actually have no idea how your ride went because I was laughing so much at your "comfort food". I've never liked PB&J or mac-n-cheese (I was a weird kid), and I quit drinking sodas about 10 years ago. However, if you exchanged it for a hamburger or something, I'd be alllll over that. Brie and a baguette comes in a close second. Annnd now I'm hungry!
4/2/2016 06:47:59 am
I love this comparison!
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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%: