From Endurance to Dressage
I talked to my vet over the weekend, and I got the go ahead to "substantially" increase Izzy's work load. Thank goodness because this is what a bored horse looks like ...
I am not exaggerating when I say the interest in the box lasted approximately forty-five seconds. I checked the time stamp on the series of photos. You would think that a box from Smartpak would have kept his interest slightly longer than that, but alas, it did not.
Before I got the go-ahead to put Izzy to work, I had already decided to lunge him at a walk and easy trot. It was when I told my vet later that day what I had done that he agreed Izzy's wound had reached a point where movement was not going to interfere with the healing process as long as I change the bandage after exercise.
I had made the decision on my own after seeing Izzy doing back flips in his small paddock. I decided that controlled exercise is better than what he was doing on his own. I feel much better with the vet's endorsement however.
I used my thick cotton lunge line for the work. It's a round rope that is soft, heavy enough for rough play, and long enough to let him make wide circles.
A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to talk with the trainer who put the first sixty days on Izzy. She confirmed what I've been seeing: he's not afraid, and he's basically lazy. He's also a bit stubborn and likes to argue when he doesn't want to do it. With that said, I can tell that she did a lot of really good work with him. Even though she didn't do much lunge work with him, he still knew what it meant and was happy enough to follow the rules.
When I bought Izzy, I saw him zip around in the round pen like a giraffe. He never relaxed or showed the movement that I suspected he could offer. And when I got on him in the round pen, we just walked a few steps in either direction to prove that he could carry a rider.
When he was with "the trainer" up north, I worked him in the round pen a few times, but he was pretty tense up there, and I still didn't get to see a nice forward trot or canter.
When I put him on the lunge line for some walk and light trot work, I got all giddy inside. He didn't offer a beautifully lifted back or anything, but he did show me a glimpse of the nice movement that I knew he had.
This was the first time that he's been on a lunge line in quite some time. He was remarkably well behaved and only pulled a few shenanigans - crow hops, head tossing, etc. And while he did try and pull away once or twice, as soon as he felt that tug on his halter, he immediately halted and turned to face me.
I had him walk for a few minutes, and then I sent him into a quiet trot. I laughed out loud when I saw how slow and easy he moved out. Right from the start his trot showed rhythm and balance. He didn't pull or lean on the lunge line, and he was quick to look to me for a whoa cue. In fact, I had to do a fair amount of kissing and clucking to keep him going. I don't think he's much of a bolter.
Now that we can officially work on the lunge line at all three gaits, I can help him burn off some of that extra energy by long lining him and maybe putting him in the side reins. The bridle and saddle are not far behind.
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.
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 …
11/7-11/8 SB (***)
2021 Completed …
10/24-25 SCEC (***)
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