From Endurance to Dressage
Well boy howdy do I ever wish I had gotten all of that off my chest before yesterday. I feel so much better! Admitting any kind of weakness or failure is a tough thing for me to do. I have plenty of weaknesses that I could share, and my failures are frequently published and available for public perusal, but it's embarrassing to talk about them.
After my little admission though, I was brought to tears more than once by the confidence boosting anecdotes and words of encouragement that filled my Facebook page and comments section. Apparently, everyone has felt humiliated and untalented at some point in their riding journey. I had no idea!
Armed with a go get 'em, girl attitude, I trekked out to the barn in the 180 bazillion degree afternoon and hosed Speedy off before I saddled him up; it was truly summer time hot. I pushed out the negative thoughts and decided to just have fun because really, how much work can you do when it's 900 degrees?
If this were a movie, you could predict what would happen next: the soundtrack would begin and uplifting music would swell as the horse and rider perform movements as if by magic. Okay. It wasn't that good, but Speedy and I had a very productive ride.
Since it was so danged hot, I decided to keep things slow and easy. We worked on our turn on the haunches, and to my delight the good way got better, and the bad way felt scorable.
One thing that I did take away from the clinic was that my lack of an adequate sitting trot is my fault. With no one watching me ride on a daily basis, I've just not worked on it. At all. Over the past two weeks, I decided that it is something I can fix, so I've added at least ten minutes of practice when I ride Speedy. And of course, it's getting better.
Not only is my sitting trot improving, but it's allowing me to communicate with Speedy more effectively. Besides just sitting there last night, I asked him to work on his canter departures. Instead of fiddling with him, I worked on keeping my butt plugged into the saddle during the downward transitions. Intellectually, I know how important my seat aids are, but actually feeling them work is another story.
Chemaine is always encouraging me to lift Speedy's withers with my seat, but I never quite had the feeling before. I do now! That little dude can really pull things off when I do my part. We had some pretty darned good walk to canter to walk moments on both leads. Well hallelujah!
Yesterday, someone told me to remember why I am riding. For all of us, I am sure the reason we ride is for the love of the horse. While I rode yesterday, I never once thought about my inadequacies. I simply enjoyed the process of learning and teaching.
When I slid off Speedy's back, I wrapped my arms around his neck and rested my face in his mane. There might have been a sniffle or two, but there was also a feeling of extreme gratitude.
Man I love horses!
5/24/2017 07:16:52 am
Awesome post-you made me smile! IMHO you can never spend too much time working on your seat and on refining basic movements. It's like putting deposits in the bank of better riding.
5/24/2017 09:25:46 am
That is certainly true! :0)
So glad you're feeling better!! That clinic sounded like a nightmare. I don't care how "good" someone is as a trainer-- they have no right to make people feel horrible like that. I'm really glad you have a trainer like Chemaine to help lift you back up. And, of course, some amazing ponies to always be there for you. :)
5/24/2017 09:27:33 am
Thanks, Addie, I try not to write too negatively, mostly because I am a bit of a Pollyanna. I genuinely see the good in most any situation, but that clinic really knocked me off kilter. I am starting to feel back to my regular, perky self. :0)
5/24/2017 09:28:09 am
Thanks, Sarah. :0)
I am late to this, but: I once had a trainer tell me things about Tristan, and my relationship with him, that made me sob for hours, heartbroken. I am not usually a person who takes that kind of thing to heart, but that moment hit me hard. It also made me a better horse person overall, because I emerged from the other side of it with renewed confidence in myself. I'm glad you're coming to the other side of that crappy experience!
5/26/2017 10:41:09 am
That's exactly how I reacted, Amanda. I was literally heartbroken. Fortunately, I have bounced back! One of my strengths is that I don't hold a grudge which makes it easy for me to take a positive thing away from a negative experience. I have been able to chuck the negative, hurtful comments and sift out the constructive ones. I really am feeling much better and have been able to apply some new stuff to my writing. Thank you for sharing your own experience. Those shared experiences have been what has helped me to move on so quickly. :0)
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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
(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%: