From Endurance to Dressage
I've only been able to get Izzy tired one time and that was a few weeks ago after a wild and wooly turnout followed by a lesson with Chemaine. I simply can't ride the boy hard or long enough to wear him out. I think horses learn a lot with wet saddle blankets. Izzy's are soaking wet, so I hope something is sinking in.
Yesterday, I turned him out for a little over an hour while I rode Speedy. As I was untacking, I could hear him thundering around out in the neighbor's turnout. I turned Speedy out for a while in our arena so that Izzy could finish burning off any extra energy.
When I went out to get Izzy, he was still high as a kite, so I walked him down to the end of the turn out. When he whirled and nearly ran me down, I decided that he needed to find himself some religion. We had a very serious and lengthy Come to Jesus meeting.
Somewhere down the road and out of sight, a crew was doing some tree trimming or yard work. There were some saws buzzing and engines rumbling, but they weren't that loud. Izzy just didn't want to be that far away from home and decided to run past me to get to the barn.
He has been in a rope halter for quite some time as his ground manners aren't always perfect. A rope halter makes it much easier to do a schooling session right on the spot - which is what I did. I backed his butt up hard and fast the width of the turn out. And then I did it again and again. I yielded his hindquarters, made him "squeeze" between me and the fence, and basically hustled his feet as fast as I could get them to go.
Eventually, he was willing to stand and listen to the noise without charging over the top of me. He was also dripping wet. Who needs a saddle to get a wet back?
When he could walk up and down the fence line without running into me, over me, or near me, I walked him back towards the barn and pulled his halter. He was not happy that I was leaving him. I walked back to my barn, gathered Speedy up from his turn out, and put him away. Then I went back for my green bean.
Izzy was still pacing around, but he stopped quickly when he saw me. He eagerly took the halter but still wanted to crowd me a bit as we walked back to the barn, so I used the tail of my lead rope to pop him on the nose when he got too close to me.
Since he was gross and sweaty, I gave him a quick shower and then walked him over to the cross ties to saddle up. As I puttered around, the tension left his body and he began to relax.
As on Friday, I decided to hack him around the neighborhood again. This doesn't do a lot for his dressage training, but it is really showing him how to keep it together when he's tense. I am not a fan of lunging, and I refuse to need to lunge a horse before I get on. I want Izzy to know that he has to work through it once we start showing. These walks through the neighborhood provide a lot of stimuli that he has to cope with.
Again, he was pretty good. We even stopped for a few minutes at the Haner Farm to chat with the two little boys who live there. They had just gotten scooters, and both boys were standing on them and even rolling them around. Izzy didn't care one bit about them. He wanted to jig a little, but I just sat there calmly talking to the boys until Izzy figured it out.
When we passed by our property corner, Izzy threw his now regularly scheduled fit, but I was a bit more aggressive with the whip and spurs and simply sent him forward. The back side of this loop is a bit scary. I am not sure why, but all of the horses get tense back there. There are no other horses nearby and there is a lot to look at.
Izzy was so tense through that entire section that it made my own back ache. Even though I half halted like crazy, he jigged and pogo-sticked the entire way. He was so tense that my teeth even hurt. As we got closer to home, he got less and less tense. When he tried to rush up the driveway, I turned around and walked up and down the street in front of the barn until he was calmly walking without even thinking about jigging. By the time I unsaddled him, I was exhausted, but he wasn't.
Besides giving him more and more experience, I liked this ride because he never felt lame. Of course with that much adrenaline coursing through his veins, he could have been missing a leg entirely, and he wouldn't have even noticed. But even during his hour and a half turnout he looked sound. I am going to repeat the same work today. I hope he looks a little less energetic. Tired would be fantastic. Exhausted would make my day.
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.
National Rider Awards
State Rider Awards
State Horse Awards
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 …
2021 Completed …
10/24-25 SCEC (***)
11/7-11/8 SB (***)
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