From Endurance to Dressage
You know how you know something, and it's just right there, at the tip of your tongue? That's how I am feeling about my balance right now. Except of course the idea is not at the tip of my tongue but rather just on the edge of my thinking. I can feel a puzzle piece shifting back and forth trying to snap into place.
The trouble (well, just one of many) I am having right now is being able to converse with Sydney with the inside and outside reins at the same time. When he's running on his forehand, my balance is just not good enough to give a half halt with the outside rein while then asking for some flexion with the inside rein all while either catching his outside shoulder or moving over his inside shoulder.
But something Chemaine said at our lesson a week or so ago has taken root and is trying to blossom into understanding. She reminded me that I have a very nice saddle that is both deep and grippy. She encouraged me to use my saddle to sit deeply and not lean forward. I've been keeping that idea in my mind as I ride. What I've noticed is that when Sydney does get quick on his forehand, I do lean forward, if only slightly, which makes it impossible to ask him to rock backwards onto his haunches.
As I lean forward, I've also noticed that I hold my breath, lift my shoulders, and round my back. When I lower my center of gravity, I exhale, lower my shoulders, and lean back. While riding this past week, I reminded myself to sit up tall and thought about lowering my center of gravity. When I did this, my balance was better which allowed me to use the inside and outside reins at the same time. I was amazed at how quickly Sydney quit running off on his forehand. Well duh.
Each ride this past week has tightened up this idea of sitting deeper and more relaxed. Once I develop a feel for something, it's in place, and I wonder how I couldn't feel it before. That's how this is. I am starting to truly understand why I can be more effective if I quit leaning forward.
Let the puzzle be complete!
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%: