From Endurance to Dressage
Keep Him in the Conversation
Please don't sue me, Dressage Today. I know this article is your property, but the concept is so perfect for me that I have to share it.
By the way, this is my official endorsement of Dressage Today. If you have any interest in riding dressage, you should be a subscriber.
There. Maybe that will keep them from sending me any sort of cease and desist letter.
Here is the article in question. Pay special attention to the illustrations; they make the author's point better than the text. The text follows below.
Think of the rein contact as if you were talking to someone at a comfortable distance across a dinner table. If you expand the distance and stop talking, the person loses attention and becomes distracted. If you suddenly shorten the distance and talk without a break, the person becomes uncomfortable and claustrophobic. - Jane Karol.
I am sharing this because it is the same metaphor that JL uses when I ride Sydney, but she calls it "keeping him in the conversation." Early on I had to work really hard to keep the volume down. That's like being a close talker for all you Seinfeld fans.
Now that my feel is really developing, I use this image of a conversation all the time. In fact I tell Sydney, hey now - stay in the conversation. No leaving. I find that it gives me much more patience and forces me to listen to his end of the conversation.
Can he hear me? No. Shorten the reins.
Is he feeling trapped and uncomfortable? Give him some space.
It seems as though my rides on Sydney are getting better and better in an exponential way. Something has clicked. Maybe I have become a better conversationalist!
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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%: