From Endurance to Dressage
I am not quite sure when it happened, but my obnoxious green bean has been replaced by a very handsome and personable dressage horse. I joked about Izzy hitting the eight year old mark as though that was the official mark of maturity, but there must have been more truth in that idea than I realized. His birthday is not for another week or so, but eight looks like it is a magic number.
While I had the flu, neither boy got to get out to play. For Izzy, that usually means he'll be tearing down the barn and wreaking havoc. When I went out on Tuesday afternoon, I was met by a very sleepy fellow who was lazily swatting at flies. I turned him out expecting to bring him back covered in sweaty foam and possibly missing a shoe.
None of those things happened. Instead, he nibbled at the grasses growing under the fence, knocked over the mounting block because he likes how it sounds, and then gave a few little bucks and woohoos because they felt good. As I hand-grazed Speedy around the outside of the arena, he happily followed along nipping at Speedy over the fence when he could and then prancing away in joy when I caught him doing it. He looked ridiculously happy and utterly relaxed.
While I am eager to get back in the saddle - it's been a week since I've ridden, I also want to make sure that Izzy has a positive return to work. Instead of saddling on Wednesday, I put him in the surcingle and sliding side reins. From the first moment that I asked for a walk, he was all business. He didn't show one single moment of resistance, tension, or disobedience.
I actually think he likes working in the sliding reins. He walked, trotted, and cantered on cue and when encouraged, he stretched deeply over his back and seemed proud of his ability to do so. When I asked for the canter, he picked up the correct lead each time and worked hard to keep slack in my line. He never argued with the bend or tried to zip off in a straight line.
We worked for just over twenty minutes. I asked for up and down transitions and always focused on relaxing his back. When his steps seemed hurried, I asked him to slow down and rebalance. At all three gaits I asked him to stretch down and was delighted that he definitely gets the concept and is now stretching down on his own.
The tense green bean that I had just three months ago is nowhere in sight. In his place now stands a more confident fellow with a bit of a playful side. It feels like a sudden transformation, but I know it is the result of hard work and patience. I feel incredibly lucky to own this amazing horse. I am quite certain that I'll be wringing my hands over the next "thing," but I know I've found a diamond in the rough who is starting to really shine.
I love this horse!
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%: