From Endurance to Dressage
Oh, boy, oh, boy did I have a great lesson over the weekend. Izzy hadn't seen Chemaine Hurtado, owner and trainer at Symphony Dressage Stables for several months. Up until recently, he had been so nice to ride that I wasn't having any problems. When Chemaine said she'd be here on Saturday, I waffled. As it turned out, I needed a lesson much more than I had thought.
With Izzy standing patiently by - I guess all of last week's do it or else riding really paid off, Chemaine and I talked about where I was with him. I know she doesn't show up with an agenda, so I am always amazed at the exercises she can pull out of her hat with only a moment's notice. What she decided we needed was to get Izzy better engaging his inside hind.
She had me ride a square, first at trot and then at the canter. As we approached the corner, Chemaine had me half halt the outside hind by opening my outside rein as I brought it back, like you would for a walk pirouette. Then I used my outside leg to push his haunches in to make a square turn. I kept my inside hand low and steady to maintain the bend. In between turns, I gave Izzy every opportunity to stretch down, but as we neared the next corner, I repeated the half-halt, haunches in, turn.
Here's a bit of video with Chemaine explaining.
I've ridden him every day since Saturday's lesson, and while he hasn't magically become Verdades - give us about 50 more years, he's definitely getting more and more buttons installed.
While riding this week, I realized something. After schooling some walk to canter to walk as well as turns on the haunches and counter canter, I realized that Izzy has a ton of really cool buttons, but they're only half-way installed. He can do a lot of movements from Training through Third Levels, but he can't do them well or consistently.
One of my goals for 2019 is to get him to a show, the level isn't important, with the knowledge that we should be able to earn at least 60%. I am not sure if my strategy of work movements regardless of the level will work, but I am going to continue playing around with the different movements. The instant he figures out that relaxing won't kill him, all of those half-way installed buttons will fall into place.
Let's hope it happens at the start of a test!
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
*** SCEC 10/15-16/22
2022 Completed …
(*) Tehachapi 5/22/22
(*) Tehachapi 7/24/22
(***) Tehachapi 8/28/22
2023 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
Qualifying Training Level
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%:
Score 1: 62.115%