From Endurance to Dressage
In case you weren't aware, I teach fifth grade. We are holding our annual track meet this week which means we've been trying out and practicing our events for the past month. We do an actual track meet: running events on a marked track, shot put, discus, high jump, and so on.
I am fairly athletic; I can run and hit a ball, but I am not good at anything. It always strikes me rather funny that I coach my team in events that I can't do myself. I mean honestly, I have to take a YouTube tutorial each spring to remind myself about the finer points of each event.
Earlier this week, I was checking in with my long jump kids to see how their practice was coming. Right away, I could see that there were some issues. As I started shouting out instructions, I realized that I was giving my fifth graders a combination dressage/jumping lesson.
As one kid sailed past me, I yelled out run, run, run ... don't slow down. Push off! (His stride was short and choppy - he needed to lengthen his stride.) For another jumper, I hollered, think about pushing off the board rather than running across the board. To a third competitor, I shouted quit adding in a stride. I really wanted to tell him to count his strides so that he'd know from where to begin his run.
The funny thing was that the kids really did get better with my coaching, and not just at the long jump, but at all the events. While I can't really "do" any of the events that my kids were attempting, I could see their mistakes, and I could offer feedback.
It got me thinking about riding coaches and trainers. I realized that you don't really have to be a great rider to be a great trainer (although I am sure it helps). The flip side is also very true - great riders don't necessarily make great teachers.
It seems that in track and field as well as jumping and dressage, adding more leg, watching where you're going, and using your hind end well go a long way towards making you successful.
Go, Sweaney's Stallions!
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%: