From Endurance to Dressage
And it wasn't a good one. After several weeks of really great progress, I took a day off from riding to head up to Lake Isabella and Kern River Brewery with my husband. It rained cats and dogs the next day. I guess two days off is more than Izzy can handle.
I knew it was going to be a rough ride. The wind had howled the night before, and I mean HOWLED. Like banshees coming to take your soul. Or whatever banshees take. The sky was dark and moody, and everything was just dripping. My mantra these days is it doesn't matter. Izzy doesn't get any more breaks; this is it. This is his life. At nine, going on ten, he now gets to just suck it. Sucking it up would be preferable, but whatever.
As soon as I got on, I knew I was in for a doozy. Right away I felt I had no inside bend to the right, but I decided to take a page from Chemaine Hurtado's book (owner and trainer at Symphony Dressage Stables). When she rode him a few weeks ago, she spent what seemed like an inordinate amount of time bending him to the right and booting him in the ribcage. Later, when I asked what the purpose to that was - never doubting that there was a purpose, she explained that she wanted him OFF her inside leg and listening to it. Hmm...
So, I bent his nose until it was practically resting on my right knee while I booted his ribcage with my inside leg. Sometimes it was in a turn on the forehand, sometimes it was a leg yield on a circle. The exercise worked, but not without a few oh, crap moments.
He was really stuck on that inside right shoulder. It was bulging into my leg, and his version of I won't move it is to swerve left or to rear. At one point, he actually hit me in the face as he went up. The thing is, it's hard to go all the way up when your face is crammed into someone's knee. His face, my knee. It took a good 40 minutes, but I won the day.
So even though yesterday was technically Speedy's day, I really needed to reinforce the previous day's lesson with Izzy. It took 17 minutes. He clearly remembered the ass kicking he had received the previous day.
Rather than (ahem - excuse the expression) pussy foot around, I went straight for the far end and asked for a right bend. He was coiled into a very tight ball and was literally bouncing around, but he moved that ribcage over and bent to the right.
Winner winner, chicken dinner!
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%: