From Endurance to Dressage
I really enjoy showing at El Sueno. The show manager is thoughtful and organized, the grounds are lovely, and the stabling is safe and secure. As an added bonus, I am allowed to camp on the grounds without paying an additional fee.
I rode Izzy on Friday morning and then loaded Speedy for the two and a half hour drive to the Ventura area. I let him settle in and have lunch, and then I saddled him up for a lesson with Chemaine.
Each time I ride with Chemaine, I get a new lesson. We never repeat anything. I don't know if that's because I show up each time with a little improvement, or whether Chemaine just has a bazillion exercises to teach me. For this lesson, she showed me one particular exercise, but we did it two ways.
At the Trot -
As Speedy trotted down the long side tracking right, Chemaine had me do a slight counter bend (bend him left) and leg yield him just a stride or two off the rail. I put him back on a right bend and pushed him back to the rail. Chemaine had me do as many of these mini leg yields as I could before hitting the corner. It was basically left bend away, right bend on, left bend away, right bend on ...
The purpose of the exercise is to get the horse more and more supple and listening to your seat and leg aids. As I get better about weighting my seat bone, Speedy should change the bend in response to my seat and not need so much help from my hands.
At the Canter -
To help me get a better change of lead through trot and improve our loop at the canter (with the counter canter section in the middle), Chemaine had me repeat the exercise but at a canter. It took me a few tries to coordinate my aids, but once I figured it out, the exercise was fun and gave me a much better idea of what needs to happen to hold the counter canter and to make the change from one lead to another.
As we cantered down the long side, again on the right lead (we did both), Chemaine had me open the new outside rein, in this case the right, play with the new inside rein to get some bend, and push sideways off the rail. I then straightened Speedy for a stride, opened the new outside rein (now the left), played with the inside rein, and pushed him back to the rail.
When we schooled the change of lead through trot, I was able to (mostly) pull this all together. From C to M, we were on a right lead canter. As we started across the diagonal to K, Chemaine had me think about the work down the long side: I changed from a right bend to a slight left bend, weighted my new outside seat bone for the downward transition to trot, and then leg yielded a tiny bit to the right to push him onto my new outside rein (the right). From there, it was easy to ask for a left lead canter at A.
When I rode the change of lead through trot during my tests, both judges gave us a 6.0 for the change of lead through trot, which is "satisfactory." For the counter canter loops, we scored a 6.5 for the right and a 6.0 for the left from the first judge. The next day, we scored 6.0 for both the right and left loops. I would certainly like to improve that to a "fairly good 7," so we'll be using this exercise a lot over the next few weeks.
Day one tomorrow...
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%: