From Endurance to Dressage
How I got so lucky with my speedy pony is a mystery to me. That dude is something else. He can be a bit of a stinker sometimes, but it's only to keep things entertaining. When the chips are down however, he steps up and gets the job done.
We've been dinking around at First Level for more years than I'd like to admit. I'm ready to move on. We could tackle a Second Level test, but I am not interested in moving up a level if we can't even eke out a satisfactory 60%.
So Speedy and I have been hard at work. The simple change is the skill we're really trying to confirm. He's got a pretty cute walk to canter, but the other half of the equation, the canter to walk, is not quite where it needs to be.
Speedy's not a fan of the half halt because it asks him to shift his weight to his hind end which is haaaarrrrrd. So, we've been doing a million half halts a la Verizon ... can you hear me now? What about now? And ... now? It's tedious, but he's really starting to listen.
The other issue is his wildly swinging haunches. He doesn't have to sit if his butt is in the next county. The other day, I finally put both reins in one hand and just tapped the holy heck out of his haunches behind my left leg until he pivoted around his front feet. He was more than a bit peeved at me, but it worked. The next time I asked for a canter to walk, he halted with his butt squarely beneath him. Aha!
For the past two rides, Speedy has figured out how to keep his butt underneath him on a left lead canter. The downward transition while on the right lead was the one that was still giving us trouble. To show him what I wanted, I used my trainer's trick of asking for a turn on the forehand (half pass style) as soon as I lost his haunches in the transition to walk.
After a few rounds of that, I got a very tidy canter to walk. It wasn't perfectly clean, but effort was written all over Speedy's face. He was genuinely trying to balance himself and keep his butt squarely beneath him. Even though I wanted to try a few more, I patted his neck enthusiastically and hopped off.
Like I said, that dude just makes life fun!
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%
2022 Show Season
(r) Ride-a-Test Clinic
(Q) Must Qualify
2022 Shows Schedule
(*) Tehachapi 5/22/22
2022 Completed …
2022 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
2 Scores/1 Judges/60%: