From Endurance to Dressage
It doesn't take much. That dude thinks he's perfect just the way he is, and any insinuation that he has areas that could use some improvement are usually met with hostility and irritation.
The good thing about Speedy is that as long as I am willing to work through the ugly at home, it all seems to come together at a show as long as I remember to back off in the last few rides before we leave home. He loves to show so he doesn't feel as resentful when I ask for more of this or that. At home however, it's a different story because he doesn't see the point; no one is watching!
After my pretty big epiphany with Sydney on Saturday, I realized that I am having similar issues with Speedy. He really likes to ignore my outside rein as his shoulder bulges and leads us wide of where we need to go. I decided to address the issue.
On Sydney, the bulge is much more extreme, and I have to really counter flex him to get that shoulder out of the way. Speedy's bulge isn't so severe so I simply rode him straight as I thought about riding a square. I counted four strides and then asked him to turn with my outside leg. You would have thought that I was poking him with a branding iron instead of my calf (and later, my spur).
We rode forward four strides, and then I again asked him to turn from my outside leg. It turned into an all out bucking and kicking temper tantrum. I was thrilled. He was mad that I had found a doorway through which he had been escaping, and rather than cave to his "pissiness," I dug that spur in until he was hopping away from my leg.
I simply counted, one, two, three, four, and turn. One, two, three, four, and turn. The harder he bucked or resisted, the firmer I used my spur until finally, he shifted his weight and got off the outside shoulder. When he did, I started asking for inside bend with my inside leg while slowing down the outside shoulder so that he could use his inside leg to step under and around.
I know things aren't fixed for good, but finding another weak spot and addressing it will only help us get stronger and more correct. I am really thrilled with the small nuances that I am starting to feel and recognize. My tool box has been filling up without me quite noticing. I might need to get a bigger box!
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%