From Endurance to Dressage
It's All About the Bend
We would be complete and total rock stars if I could remember to get a bend and if Speedy would offer a bend. It really and truly is about the bend. I should clarify; it's all about a soft bend.
I had a lesson with Chemaine Hurtado, owner and trainer at Symphony Dressage Stables, a week or so ago. Before she got to the ranch, I warmed Speedy up with some walk and trot. I had given him three days off after a bareback with a halter ride, so his attitude was much improved.
I told Chemaine what I was struggling with: Speedy was feeling anxious about the flying change, so he was bolting through the set up (the change of bend). Chemaine listened thoughtfully, and then I suggested she ride him. I love it when she rides my horses because it gives me an idea of how I should ride my horses.
Chemaine got on him and very quickly came up with a solution. Instead of asking for the change, she set him up for it, but then just rode the canter counter. She did several laps that way. Here and there she changed the bend and got him soft on the new inside rein, but her seat said hold the lead you're on.
When she felt that he could give her the new bend, soften, and relax, she asked for the flying changing, and got it. I got on him and worked through the same thing. Instead of asking for the change, I only asked for the bend. She made it look easy of course, but going back a step to improve the counter canter really worked.
My new plan is to focus on getting a softer change of bend wherever I want in the arena. And when I feel that Speedy is soft on the inside rein, that's when I can ask for the flying change.
It's amazing how much better things go when I actually use a half halt the way it's supposed to be used. The changes are there, I just need to set him up for them correctly.
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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%: