From Endurance to Dressage
I never in a million years ever expected to get to the point where I would be lamenting our lack of collection, but here we are.
Speedy's connection is now pretty good. He has developed some relatively good impulsion, and the thrust is mostly there. He is steady in the bridle, and is in every practical sense, a very broke horse.
As I reviewed the purpose of the Second Level tests, a few things caught my eye.
To confirm that the horse demonstrates correct basics, and having achieved the thrust required in First Level, now accepts more weight on the hindquarters (collection); This is where we're a wee bit stuck, that part about accepting more weight on the hindquarters.
moves with an uphill tendency, especially in the medium gaits; and is reliably on the bit. Well, no, not so much. He is reliably on the bit, but the uphill tendency is still a bit of a problem.
A greater degree of straightness, bending, suppleness, throughness, balance and self-carriage is required than at First Level. I feel reasonably solid here. The dude is bendy, swingy through his back, and while he has sufficient self-carriage at the trot, he doesn't want to always sit and push at the collected canter.
As I was hauling Speedy's butt to a halt on Saturday, I started thinking that I might need a new bit. It occurred to me that I should pop Izzy's correction bit on him or even the double bridle. With a snaffle, Speedy is able to just lay on my hands and let me carry him.
He's in a French link Baucher right now, but when he gets ridden next, hopefully this afternoon, I am going to pop the above bit in (after I put the chain back on) and see what I get. This is an MP 04, a comfort snaffle with low port. This is a Level 2 mouthpiece which means that while it still uses tongue pressure, the slight port allows some tongue relief if the horse is relaxed and carrying himself.
This particular mouthpiece is USEF (now USEquestrian) legal, but the Kimberwick cheek pieces are not. I don't care right now. I am hoping that the mild curb action of the cheek pieces will get Speedy's attention and get him to SIT. Right now, when I ask for a half halt, he is leaning on my hands which means there is not enough weight on his hindquarters.
If I get the reaction I want from this bit, I'll consider buying it with legal cheekpieces. It might also just be enough to switch back and forth between it and the Baucher.
I'll keep you posted!
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%: