From Endurance to Dressage
Our jump to Second Level hasn't been an easy one, but we're not completely crashing and burning either. As I sit here and look at the rosettes on my CDS plaque, I remember how proud I was that every score we earned in 2017 was above 60%. I won't be able to say that in 2018. I am relieved, however, that we've at least earned a handful of scores above 60% to put on the plaque - five so far.
I have at least four more shows scheduled for this summer. Speedy and I have been working our tails off to boost up our scores where we're weak while polishing the movements where we shine.
One movement that I have completely neglected is the transition from halt to collected trot. There are two of them in the Second Level tests; three if you count the final halt from collected trot. As long as Speedy ultimately picked up a trot or finally halted, I've been okay with a few walk steps in between. Chemaine Hurtado, owner and trainer at Symphony Dressage Stables, finally called me on it saying that we need to really tighten up that transition.
So for the past week, Speedy and I have been doing lots and lots of trot to halt to trot to halt transitions. Let me tell you, if you aren't doing those, START! Holy cow are those transition ever getting him sharper and more in front of my leg.
The other benefit to getting him in front of my leg with transitions is that our shoulder-in is looking more like a shoulder-in. I am sure that Chemaine has already said it 10,000 times, but at a lesson on Friday night she had me use a ton of inside rein to get the bend but then she had me use the outside rein to keep him from coming off the track.
It was like being struck by lightening. You mean I can use BOTH REINS?!?!? Why didn't someone tell me that SOONER?!?!?!? Miraculously, we now have a shoulder-in. When I rode yesterday, I started with a bunch of trot to halt to trot transitions. Suddenly he was bounding forward, so I turned his energy into a shoulder-in, and then rode it into the 10-meter circle followed by travers. It was all so good that I awarded myself a string a 7.0s.
Speedy was feeling pretty good about himself. He knows when I'm finally getting it. We took a quick walk break and then rode the shoulder-in and travers the other way into the rein back. He nailed the halt and rein back and marched forward with a really nice medium walk. I thought it all deserved at least 7.5s. I was feeling generous with the scores.
I am really looking forward to our next two shows later this month. I know we're slowing filling in some gaps in our training, and I am eager to see how well we'll be able to blend the movements together. Of course, different judges place a premium on different things, so our scores may not reflect what we've learned, but I'll know.
I am more amazed by this endurance horse turned dressage horse every day. Who knew?
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%: