From Endurance to Dressage
February Lessons Day 2 (Speedy)
Sunday was completely about working on my position, particularly at the sitting trot. Chemaine just picked up where we had left off: tuck your seat bone, pull your belly button into your spine, back to neutral, and repeat a million times.
The first video shows us just getting started and the second involves a longer portion of the lesson. The sound quality is excellent, so I'll let Chemaine speak for herself. Please ignore my attempts at commenting. I am very much an auditory learner (hearing myself explain it back really helps), and I need mechanical explanations. You'll hear me trying to articulate what I am struggling with or feeling so that I can get that mechanical explanation that I need.
Something else you'll hear in the second video is me trying to decide which motion is easier for me, the side to side thing or Chemaine's technique of pulling the belly button to the spine. What I ultimately realized is that by pulling my belling button to my spine, I can use my seat as a driving aid which I can't do with the side to side motion. And ultimately, I was able to feel both motions at the same time.
We later moved onto the canter, but only to continue working on tucking my pelvis and freeing up my hips and legs. Chemaine had me work on "pumping" my legs much like you would do on a swing. You know how you pump the swing to go higher, that's kind of what she wanted me to do lengthen Speedy's canter.
By allowing my legs to swing forward and back, my hips and legs got looser and softer. Conversely, by restricting that swing, I could collect Speedy's canter. It felt more dramatic in person, but you can see it a bit in the video.
At first, she asked me to ride without swinging my legs so that I could feel how much looser I had gotten over the course of the lesson. Then, she asked me to swing my legs with the canter to feel the difference. See if you can spot the difference.
I have a lot of homework to do over the next month. Our first show of 2016 should be at the end of March which is when I plan to have another lesson on Speedy. Here's hoping I can sit the trot by then for an entire circle!
2/24/2016 07:13:15 am
This may sound horrible, and I wouldn't recommend it unless Speedy is half as saintly as my horse, but a few months ago, my girth got accidentally taken out of the barn, and I had to ride a dressage lesson without it bareback. I suddenly had a sitting trot. I had the same problem where in an attempt to stay loose and absorb the motion I basically let go completely with my legs, which will not fly bareback. I would HIGHLY recommend this if Speedy will be patient with you. Jazz is pretty chill, so she wasn't bothered when I nearly went off the side several times in my lesson, and she just slowed down or stopped while I desperately grabbed mane and got re-centered, so if you think Speedy would put up with you moving around up there, I think working on it bareback could be really helpful. Good luck!
2/26/2016 09:44:39 am
Speedy is great about being bareback, but he doesn't like the feeling of me being even the slightest off balance, so I have difficulty getting a more forward trot. However, now that I have a better sense of the motion, maybe we can be more effective bareback. Thanks for the suggestion. :0)
2/26/2016 09:45:39 am
Sometimes, I'll hear it another way from someone else and think, "Now why didn't Chemaine say that?!" LOL You can never hear it too many ways.
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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
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Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
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3 Scores/2 Judges/60%: