From Endurance to Dressage
It Just Keeps Getting Better
Over the weekend I found out that my Monday and Wednesday lessons were cancelled. It was okay though because I felt like firming up our latest work was really important before adding a new element.
The latest is of course, the right lead canter. Things went quite well on Saturday. They were even better on Sunday. By Tuesday's ride, I was grinning from ear to ear. For the first time ever, I was able to ask for repeated right lead canter departures wherever I wanted to in the arena. We worked in the scary end where I asked for the canter in the second half of the circle at C, between H and C, and even between C and M. If he got fussy, I worked the inside rein as firmly as I needed to remind him that he can't hang on it.
When I took a lesson with Chemaine a week or so ago, she reminded me of a technique that Christian Schacht uses to encourage a horse to let go of the inside rein. He has the rider lift the inside hand toward the outside shoulder, effectively crossing the withers (something we're never supposed to do). The instant the horse lets go, the rider MUST give a release. I can't over-use the technique with Sydney, but mild variations of it remind him that he must let go.
JL has had me sponge or rock the inside rein, but when that doesn't get the job done, I can now use Christian's method. And once Sydney has been encouraged to let go with that aid, it is much easier to remind him with the rocking of the rein.
The more in charge I am, the more relaxed he becomes. This horses doesn't want to have to make a single decision. He doesn't want to save my butt, and he certainly doesn't like multiple choice questions or fill in the blanks. He wants me to point exactly where he is to go.
No problem, Sydney. I can handle it!
I learned that crossing the hand over the withers is a no-no because it disconnects the base of the neck from the withers. As in, it forces the horse to bend that part of the neck (which we normally don't want). But when the horse is buldging the shoulder against the inside rein (i.e. hanging on it weight on inside shoulder), breaking that line helps the horse to move the shoulders left or right, and loosen the muscles in the base of the neck so that you can put them straight.
I'm not quite there with Hemie, but almost. Instead of trying to get him to take the left rein instead of the right rein (major resistance), I've been having him take the left rein in addition to the right rein, and am slowly working on letting the right rein go while keeping left rein. Tricky for sure!
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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%: