From Endurance to Dressage
In case you missed it, here's the video I shared yesterday.
Debbie, the trainer, still has Izzy in the round pen, but it's a big one. She feels that the circle is helping him to stay balanced. There is also less that he has to focus on in a round pen because he knows where he is going. Right now, she's mostly working on his longitudinal balance with some lateral movement.
I got on him after the lunging but before Debbie rode him. Right away, he got tense and bunched up. He even started to do a baby rear. Not feeling any embarrassment, I suggested that it would be better if Debbie got on to show me what they've been doing with him.
When she got on him, he relaxed and started walking out nicely. She showed me that she gives him all the rein while simply insisting that he keep his head down and stretch. Before he could even pop his nose up, she was sponging the rein and insisting that he keep his head down and stretched.
Once he was moving forward with a nice, relaxed walk, they picked up a trot where she insisted on the same thing: head down and stretching. After watching her work for a while, I felt confident about trying it again.
As soon I got on and asked for forward, Izzy's stride got short, but I quickly figured out that I needed to let my hips swing more, and I had to take my leg off of him. Before too long, he was walking with a big stride and stretching downward. We changed direction, and again he got a little short-strided until I relaxed through my hips and let the rein out.
While he did trot here and there, that wasn't the goal so I brought him back to a walk every time. I wish I had tons of natural feel and could just sense what to do, but alas, that's not the case. Keeping him walking forward took a lot of direction from Debbie and a ton of focus on my part.
I called Chemaine the next day and discussed the training session over with her. She gave me some excellent pointers:
Izzy's in a large paddock with enough room to canter around if he feels like it, and the staff will make sure he's blanketed, fed, and cared for. When I go up, I can work on getting to know him better, encourage more head lowering, and we can do some of the lunging work that Debbie showed me they're doing with him.
He sure looks like a fancy pants to me. I just hope I don't screw things up!
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%: