From Endurance to Dressage
Three weeks ago, not so much. Ask me again next month and we'll see how I feel about Izzy then. This week, I am grinning from ear to ear.
After just one lesson with Chemaine, Izzy's whole attitude toward dressage has changed. A switch has definitely been flipped, and he's starting to see what it is that he needs to do. Don't get me wrong, he's still inconsistent in the contact, rooting the reins, curling behind the bit, and having trouble maintaining a steady rhythm. But it's all to a lesser degree.
That's a step forward folks, and I'll take it. There are far too many of the two steps backwards days not to celebrate those days when stuff's going right.
So what's going right? Well, since Thursday's lesson, we are now actually cantering when I ask for it - that alone is HUGE. I just hadn't felt confident enough to ask for the canter before our lesson. I wasn't sure that I could keep him from exiting stage right.
Chemaine helped me see how to ride him with a very giving contact while still keeping him under control. In fact, I have a droopy inside rein now. I play with it, and he lets it go. When I let go of the inside rein, and HE lets go of the inside rein, we can get a better bend and his inside hind leg can step through.
So now as I ride, I focus all of my attention on "regulating" his rhythm (my new favorite dressage word - thanks, Chemaine!) and playing with the inside rein. When I put those things together correctly, he carries himself in a very cute little frame and even occasionally stretches down.
When I rode yesterday, there was not one attempt at being naughty, bolting, spooking, or trying to write his own agenda. For our first ride of the day, we walked around the arena for twelve minutes. We walked deep into the spooky end, made circles, rode straight lines, and did it all without worrying.
When I got on him for round two, we trotted into the scary end of the arena without incident. And then we cantered to the left and cantered to the right. We did lots of trot circles that included changes of direction and even some large serpentines.
Like Chemaine said, right now it's all about regulating the rhythm for him. And you know what's funny? Not haha funny, but doh! funny. Rhythm is the bottom tier of the Dressage Pyramid - immediately followed by relaxation. I knew that of course, but it just makes me shake my head when I see it actually happening.
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%