From Endurance to Dressage
Not that he'll get to see her that often, but I do have some plans to ride with Chemaine more often than before. It's a good thing he liked her!
Yesterday, KG and I loaded Izzy for his first lengthy field trip - it's a two and a half hour drive to Moorpark. He's getting really good about trailering. Most of the time he now climbs right in, but occasionally he still pauses a moment to make sure that I really want him to get in. As long as he hops in, I can deal with occasional pauses.
He was really quiet for the whole ride, but when we unloaded him, he had the typical "we're not in Kansas anymore" response. His head shot up as high as he could get it, which is already pretty dang high, and his eyes about bugged out of his head. He whinnied and cried and tried to bump and crowd me.
We put him in one of the turn out areas which was about the size of a large round pen, He had two neighbors, and KG and I stayed with him. After giving him a few minutes to pace around and look, I decided to put him to work a little. I sent him trotting around me until he started to refocus on me. When we walked back to Chemaine's barn, he was a tiny bit quieter. We popped him into a stall and left him while we went to eat the sandwiches that we had packed.
When we took him out of the stall, he was slightly less excited, but still pretty high. I put him in the cross ties to saddle him, but he had a hard time standing still. He fidgeted and wiggled, but he kept it together and let me finish up. Once he was saddled, I walked him over to the dressage ring so he could get a look at everything.
While he was still whinnying and and wiggling, He did take a few moments to nibble the few blades of grass he could find. This made me very happy. A horse can't relax when his head is sky high. Any time they drop their head, they are able to relax, even if it's just for a moment. I also lead him around the dressage court so that he could at least use up a little of the nervous energy.
Once Chemaine had finished up with the lesson she was giving, we took a few minutes to chat about what I hoped to achieve with this lesson. First and foremost, I wanted Chemaine's opinion about Izzy's ultimate suitability as a dressage horse. I wanted to know if he had any physical limitations that I hadn't seen and more importantly, did his brain seem like it could get the job done.
I also asked her to check my saddle fit - a quick assessment suggested it was fine. I also asked about his bit - that also looked fine. I just wanted to rule out any tack issues that might be causing him to be naughty.
After that, Chemaine got on him. As he can do with me, he balled up and got a little bit light in front. Chemaine was very reassuring and got him moving forward. I was happy to see that she was doing what I've been doing. She put her arms forward to give him some room, but she didn't lengthen her reins. She also bridged one of her reins (more on that tomorrow).
Just like with me, he tried to bolt, but instead of bringing his head around in a circle to stop him, she gave him a good hard jerk of the rein and said, NO! In fact, each time he tried to be a bit of a bully, she jerked the rein and repeated the NO! Within just minutes, he quit trying to be a jerk.
I've been really reluctant to give a hard jerk as Sydney was prone to rearing. To deal with the rearing, I pulled him hard to the side so that he wouldn't go up. Watching how nicely Izzy responded to the firm, but quick correction was really encouraging.
I don't know how long Chemaine rode, but it was no more than twenty or thirty minutes. First she worked on letting him go forward, and then she worked on getting him softer to the inside rein. They did a lot of canter work and changes of direction. Everything was about going forward, relaxing, and being soft.
Once he quit being a jerk, I forgot to take pictures. She had him looking so fabulous that I couldn't wipe the grin off my face! He was really fancy. Chemaine especially commented on how nice his canter is - he's naturally uphill. After schooling him for a bit, she laughed and said she was having run riding him and asked if I didn't maybe want to leave him with her!
Tomorrow, my time aboard!
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%: