From Endurance to Dressage
Poor Speedy. I know it must seem like he never gets ridden or played with. This is Not-So-Speedy Dressage after all ... so what's up with the speedy pony?
Believe it or not, he gets just as much attention as does Izzy, but since he's so well behaved anymore, he doesn't get as much press because it's a lot of BORING.
Our rides lately are pretty much about getting some looseness in the poll and jaw at the walk by flexing and moving the shoulders around, stretchy trot, leg yielding, 10-meter trot circles, a trot lengthen or two all followed up with true canter and counter canter.
There haven't been any spectacular AHA moments, but there have been some pretty spectacular moments. Just the other day I got some comparatively nice trot lengthenings that had some real oomph. I like to work up to the trot lengthenings by doing ten-meter circles first. These seem to put him on his rear end a bit as well as create a desire to really MOVE.
I did three, 10-meter trot circles down the long side, and when we came out of the second corner, I counter flexed him just a bit to get his shoulders back in line, and then gave a big push with my seat. Speedy shot forward and upward into what felt like a First Level worthy lengthening of the stride at trot. I gave him lots of loud YES! YES! YES! praise all the way across the diagonal. Speedy understands verbal praise and loves it.
I've also been schooling a counter canter exercise that I saw in the July edition of Dressage Today. It's a simple exercise that goes like this:
Speedy's not really balanced enough to make the half circle in counter canter only to do it again. And he doesn't feel ready for a change of lead through trot. Yet. I am doing this exercise in a short court though which means I don't have much time after the half circle to rebalance him. If we do the exercise a few more times, I think we'll be ready to continue it in either the same lead or on the other lead with the change through trot.
For us, the main benefit of this exercise is that it really reveals where Speedy is "sticky." It takes a lot of effort on both our parts to help him pick up the inside shoulder (which becomes the outside shoulder) in the counter canter. The exercise Chemaine showed me where I change the bend no matter which way we're tracking has really helped. The more I can bobble head his poll and neck, the easier it is for him to get soft in the counter canter.
While Speedy doesn't get excited about having to work, he does seem to enjoy the variety that First Level and even some of Second Level offer. We've finally reached a point in his training where he is a true adult with the maturity to cope with challenging work. He's a lot of fun to ride!
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%: