From Endurance to Dressage
Fun at Last!
In the (near) words of the esteemed Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., "Fun at last, Fun at last, Thank God almighty, we are having Fun at last!"
Somewhere near the end of June or the beginning of July, I decided that I was OVER Speedy G; riding him was no longer fun. Every time I got on him we had an argument. He's not dangerous or scary, but you can not MAKE that horse do anything. If he feels like he's being picked on or nagged, forget about it! My trainer suggested I just get through the RAAC, and then take a month off.
Knowing that the "end" was in sight, I lowered my expectations and cut Speedy some slack. We went to the two July shows with what we had, and I gave up expecting brilliance. Of course, we had the best string of tests ever, but that's Speedy's MO; you can't make him do anything! Ask him politely, and he'll go all out for you.
I gave him a few days off after the RAAC, but then we got back to work, gently. We rode a few days, took the weekend off, and then started again this week. I have had the most fun on him! We've been doing a couple of "move out big" exercises that he has been really digging!
The first is just down centerline, track right or left up the long side, come back down centerline and track right or left up the other long side. Sometimes I even do the same long side just to see if he's really paying attention. After trotting boldly down the centerline and up the long sides, we come down centerline one last time for as sharp of a halt as he can do. He has had so much fun. His halts, always pretty nice, have been spectacular!
After doing the long side work, I switch it up by doing essentially the same thing but we cross the diagonal. As we come out of the corner and I look at H or M, I give him some extra leg, slide my hands forward, and ask him to really go for it. I can't say it's a true extended trot, but he's getting the idea. He's starting to really power his way across that diagonal! It has been a total blast to ride.
When we rode that exercise on Tuesday, he made the turn on his own and just absolutely launched himself. I wasn't quite prepared for such an explosive trot out of the corner so it lacked some bend, but I loved his enthusiasm.
Doing these two exercises has really helped me with getting some good inside bend and controlling the outside shoulder all while moving out in a big trot. I am sure Speedy's happier doing this right now than being stuck in a twenty meter circle. Later in the week we'll switch it up and work on the leg yield. First Level ... it's getting closer!
Yay! I remember how much fun it was to move from working mainly Training level to working First and having so many options to school. It makes it easier to keep things fun and refreshing, instead of feeling like you're a little trapped in a rut! The trick seems to be to keep rotating the exercises, so you don't put yourself in a rut of working one thing until you never want to ride it again.
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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%: