From Endurance to Dressage
I've been riding Izzy since late spring of last year. I started some under saddle work in April or so, but it was mostly about standing quietly at the mounting block, going when I put my leg on, and stopping when I pulled on the reins. I also focused on steering and a few other rudimentary things.
In May, I started some trot work and attempted to canter, but it was all rough. Getting a trot required a lot of kicking, and the canter was nearly impossible to coax out of him. Even though he was started as a youngster with 60 days of training followed by a few months under saddle with his previous owner, he ended up spending the next year and a half on pasture. I didn't have to start completely from scratch, but it was close.
We were in Europe for the first half of June, so he sat around for another few weeks where I hoped he was processing his new life. He's been a funny horse to work with because at the very beginning, it was all fun and games to him. I spent weeks riding him bareback at the walk in a halter. There is no way in heck I'd do that today.
Once he figured out that he had a job, he developed a bit of an attitude. He is quite opinionated and not at all afraid to let you know what's on his mind. His way of evading work is to simply walk off the job, normally at a brisk pace with his head jacked up as high as he can get it. I am fairly certain that's his way of flipping me the bird.
During the summer and early fall, I started to wonder if I had made a colossal mistake. His tantrums got more and more aggressive, and with his size, I was having some trouble getting the upper hand. I started training exclusively with Chemaine, and little by little she helped me figure out how to school him through the hissy fits and help him build some confidence.
We still have a long way to go, especially at the canter. I can get a left lead that usually starts out rather explosively, but when he's balanced, the dude can already do a really lovely 10-meter canter circle.
By spiraling down into the smaller circle, a strategy that Chemaine showed me for teaching canter to walk, the horse is encouraged to really sit with the hind end which makes the downward transition easier to do. When I was having trouble getting a downward transition to trot, it occurred to me to spiral in. I had no idea how easy it was going to be for him.
Somewhere over the last few months, any fear I had while riding him has melted away. He's not an easy ride, but he is a good learner, and he wants to do a good job. He loves to be praised, and at the end of a good ride, I can tell that he's usually quite pleased with himself.
We're headed over to Moorpark to lesson with Chemaine this morning. I know he won't be as good as he's been at home, but I am looking forward to an off-property lesson. I really want to start showing him this spring or summer, but we can't do that without more field trips.
While I am pretty sure this lesson will involve some rodeo moments, the Pollyanna side of me is looking forward to how awesome he's going to be! I'll let you know how it goes.
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 Second Level. 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%
2021 Show Season
(r) Ride-a-Test Clinic
(Q) Must Qualify
2021 Pending …
2021 Completed …
10/24-25 SCEC (***)
11/7-11/8 SB (***)
2021 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
2nd Level Qualifying
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%:
Score 1: 60.610% Bhathal
2nd Level Qualifying
5 Scores/4 Judges/61%:
Stuff I Read