From Endurance to Dressage
This is a continuing series of photos that illustrates the differences between an endurance seat and a dressage seat.
This is a photo from the second endurance race that I did. I was riding Sassy in the Tar Spring 25 miler (a limited distance event). It's not really a ride photo as my husband took this shot while we were waiting to go at the start/finish line. I don't have any stats for this ride, but I know that while we finished the course, we were 20 minutes over the allotted time and did not receive an official completion. The following year, the same course was reclassified as a 30 miler.
This is a terrible photo of myself, but it quickly illustrates that at the beginning of my endurance career I was struggling with developing an "endurance seat." Hmmm ... much like the struggle I've experienced developing my dressage seat. The one and only kind thing I can say about this photo is that my elbows are bent! Other than that, I got nothin'! I do know that getting an endurance horse to stand quietly at the starting line when most of the other horse have already left is quite difficult. That might explain some of my bad posture. It might also be that my husband just caught me at a really awkward moment.
When I first started endurance riding, I didn't know much about keeping off my horse's back or about not micromanaging their every move. I did my first 7 endurance rides in a western saddle, which I quickly covered in fleece. It wasn't long before I got my legs under my hips and my butt out of the saddle. Buying my first endurance saddle (in the fall of 1997) really helped. By design, most western saddles do put you in a chair position. You can see from this photo that I am struggling to "get up" but can't because my legs are so far in front of me.
As I continue posting these photos, you'll be able to see my seat develop. Near the end of the series, you'll see a dressage influence even begin to creep in!
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%: