From Endurance to Dressage
I am grateful that Speedy has fabulous days. It's on those days that he shows me his potential. We had one of those days last week, and I even wrote about it. Unfortunately, they're not the normal. Most days find us struggling with something.
This weekend, Speedy decided that dressage was a lot of work. As such, he further determined that it would be better for me to hold him up with the left rein. He was adamant that he certainly couldn't sit back on his own butt as that might wear him out. And really, he has better things to do with his hind end than carry me around.
When you look at this next picture, you have to ask why he can't happily rock back on his tush. I mean look at him. There is plenty of butt there upon which to sit. I know, I know. It's hard work, but at least I know he's got the butt to do it!
One of the great things about leaving Training Level is that the levels that follow offer so much more to work on. That doesn't mean we do them brilliantly, but at least when we get stuck somewhere, we can change the exercises and move on to a new topic.
Right now it's all about our struggle with the leg yield, improving the trot lengthenings, and getting a more and more collected canter. While the trot lenghtenings are fun, the leg yield is not. I really need some eyes on the ground.
I have a feeling I am asking for too much straightness in the shoulder, but Speedy wants to lead with the outside shoulder and trail his butt along behind. If I really dig my spur in, I can get a deeper step with the inside hind, but he gets really annoyed with me when I do it. If I don't poke him with the spur, he refuses to cross over with that inside hind leg.
The canter work is improving, slowly, but he is able to collect more than he could at the beginning of the summer. It took both weekend days to get him to let go of the left rein, but the instant he did, his canter got light and soft.
We've also been working on the canter lengthening. He's starting to get more up and forward in the stride rather than just forward. When he gets flat, it's very difficult to return to working canter. If I canter him forward with more of a scoop in my seat combined with small half halts, his stride has more bounce and suspension. It feels like a good thing, but what do I know?
We have a lesson with Chemaine this coming Saturday, so I am trying to hone in on the areas where the most growth is needed. There are just so many things to fix that it's hard to focus on just a few!
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
*** SCEC 10/15-16/22
2022 Completed …
(*) Tehachapi 5/22/22
(*) Tehachapi 7/24/22
(***) Tehachapi 8/28/22
2023 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
Qualifying Training Level
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%:
Score 1: 62.115%