From Endurance to Dressage
KG and I loaded Izzy up yesterday morning and drove down to Moorpark for a lesson with Chemaine Hurtado.
When we got there, she was schooling Belle, her very upper level horse (Grand Prix?). Rather than untack the mare, Chemaine insisted that I ride Belle while she schooled Izzy.
She assured me that I couldn't screw up her horse and that she was quite well behaved. This was the first time I've ridden a school master. I've heard this said before, but it was hard, so hard that I could barely get her to trot!
With Chemaine riding my lunatic horse, she schooled me through the half halts and even helped me get some piaffe steps. And while there is video, the piaffe didn't get recorded. Oh well, it wasn't that good anyway.
Watch the whole thing if you like watching paint dry. There are no special moments to point out, but for me, it is helpful to watch how Chemaine schooled my horse.
Chemaine is wearing the dark t-shirt, I am in yellow, and the other two riders are Chemaine's assistant (on the gray), and Chemaine's daughter on the palomino. This is the first time that Izzy has been schooled with so many other horses. Being out there with everyone else was enough of a good experience in itself to make the trip worth it!
What I like about the video is watching how Chemaine schools Izzy through his shenanigans. It's also helpful to see that it's not (entirely) ME; he's just a green bean who needs a lot more wet saddle blankets.
I know Chemaine really wanted me to learn a few things by riding Belle, but it was pretty difficult to focus on my riding while trying to watch Chemaine ride. The truth is, even though I was on a fabulously trained horse, my mind just wasn't there.
Eventually, everyone else left the ring, Chemaine got Izzy under control, and then she was able to focus her attention on what I was doing, which wasn't much. I had gotten off and was putting Belle away. She insisted I get back on. It's not that I didn't want to ride her, I just didn't know what to do with her. Chemaine fixed that.
As everyone already knows, those really well trained horses know how to do their jobs, but they're not going to offer it up for free. Belle really made me work for it. While I was riding her, it felt like she was all strung out and racing around on her forehand. Watching the video though, she looks pretty well put together, all her own doing, I assure you.
Despite my best efforts to demonstrate otherwise, Belle's gaits are really lovely. That walk was something else, and her trot looks floaty and energetic no matter what I was doing up there.
While the video doesn't capture these later moments, Chemaine had me get the piaffe steps to show me how much leg needs to accompany the half half. She said something like the amount of leg has to equal the amount of hand. To get a piaffe, she had me think trot, but then don't.
It took me a few minutes to get it. I had to use enough leg for a trot, but then I had to use just as much hand to say no to the trot. What I finally figured out was that I wasn't moving my seat. Once I got a little bounce in my seat, I felt Belle get lighter and lighter and then her steps changed from walk to bounce, bounce - piaffe!
Oops, one last thing. Belle was in a double, so I just dropped the curb rein and used the snaffle rein only. From the video it looks like I am riding with a big loopy rein!
Tomorrow, more, including ME riding Izzy.
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%