From Endurance to Dressage
It's Not You. Wait ... Yes, It Is
Well, not YOU, the reader you, but you as in Speedy G. After my most recent lesson with Chemaine Hurtado, owner and trainer at Symphony Dressage Stables, Speedy now has a permanent (or at least for the immediate future) go button installed. This has opened a new can of worms.
When I put my leg on now, he practically leaps forward. It's awesome. As I collect his walk in preparation for a transition, I can feel him bunch himself up ready for the cue. When he takes that first step forward, it now comes from behind (rather than dragging himself forward) with a rounded back.
It feels amazing, but now I look like a complete moron as I bounce around trying to balance myself and keep that newly found energy from exploding every which way. During the lesson, Chemaine told me that I would get the rhythm, but it's been challenging.
I had just gotten comfortable with a longer stirrup. Now, I am raising them, lowering them, and thinking about chucking stirrups altogether. On a more positive note, the new gel handled whip is working out amazingly well. Who knew that a tip that actually extended out instead of flopping around could be so much more effective?
While I feel like a brand new rider trying to get her sea legs, Speedy's not doing a lot to help me out. I love his new found energy, but dude, soften just a bit, please! He's pushing hard from behind, but he's also against my hand rather than simply lifting his withers.
We've been schooling the medium to collected canter, but it hasn't been easy. I wouldn't have had the courage to stick to it had Chemaine not given me "permission" to ride with such a heavy feel. From the medium canter, I am holding him firmly with added leg/whip until he'll soften. As soon as I get a moment of softness (self carriage?) in the collected canter, I send him forward again.
As we were pounding our way down the long side, I asked him if he was ever going to get it. We took a walk break, and then went at it again. And wouldn't you know it, the dude finally started transitioning from a medium canter to a collected canter without being against my hand.
Maybe Second Level on my slightly downhill, slightly long in the back, non-warmblood Arab is a possibility. If anything, I can stick to it like nobody else!
4/24/2017 06:52:36 am
Stubborn is a good word for it! I just keep working the problem until I either get a new lesson or we solve it. :0)
4/24/2017 06:33:09 am
I can definitely attest that one can do second level on a slightly downhill, long-backed non-warmblood! GO SPEEDY!
4/24/2017 06:53:15 am
LOL!!!! :0) Thanks!
The Rider Test in 2013 (which ever one they had at that time) had a movement where you went lengthen canter across a diagonal then canter/trot(or walk)/canter transition in the corner. Schooling that was the first time I ever got Ava to actually stay engaged instead of barreling through it on the forehand. I think the realization that she was either hitting the corner full speed on the wrong lead, or we were coming to an abrupt stop by slamming into a fence rail, got her to realize that she might actually be better off using her bum instead. haha
4/24/2017 12:44:29 pm
I have tried so many things with Speedy like that: canter in to a 10-meter circle, canter lengthen down the long side and collect in the corner, and so on. His go-to is to stall out or just plow through my hands.
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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%: