From Endurance to Dressage
Even though Speedy and I have been schooling the flying lead change, we hadn't had an actual trainer lesson on how to do them until last week. Chemaine Hurtado, owner and trainer at Symphony Dressage Stables, had talked me through the aids over the phone, but getting a lesson in real life is always better.
Chemaine teaches the horse (and rider) the flying lead change like this:
Sometimes we got it, most of the time we didn't. And over the weekend, when I worked on it by myself a few days after the lesson, things went south pretty fast. On Saturday afternoon, I texted Chemaine with an urgent cry for help; I am pretty sure I've broken Speedy's right lead canter.
When Chemaine rode Speedy a few weeks ago, he wouldn't let go of the right rein. For this lesson, he wouldn't let go of the left. To encourage him to want to change, she finally had me do several things. The first was to keep the new bend while pushing his haunches to the rail on a counter canter. When he finally let go of the left rein (the inside rein), I could then ask for the change.
The other thing she had me try was to pick up the counter canter on a circle and do the same thing: new inside bend while keeping the haunches pushing out. It was hard, really hard. It's not magically getting easier either. Exhibit A - Like I said, I think I broke his right lead canter.
I have the feeling that I am going to be writing a lot about the flying lead change and how much we suck at doing them. Bear with me.
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 Second Level. He is a 2008, 16'3 hand warmblood gelding. His Rheinland Pfalz-saar International (RPSI) name is Imperioso.
CDS Sapphire Rider Award
Third Level: 63.514%
Third Level: 62.105%
2021 Show Season
(r) Ride-a-Test Clinic
(Q) Must Qualify
2021 Pending …
11/7-11/8 SB (***)
2021 Completed …
10/24-25 SCEC (***)
2021 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
2nd Level Qualifying
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%:
Score 1: 60.610% Bhathal
2nd Level Qualifying
5 Scores/4 Judges/61%:
Stuff I Read