From Endurance to Dressage
Leslie Webb is on the April cover of Practical Horseman. Cha Ching's Madre thought it would be helpful if I knew I was riding for one of the country's top dressage riders, maybe even one of the world's top riders. Uh-huh, helped tons!
Here is Leslie Webb giving us some initial theory before watching us actually ride. I was so nervous that I am not sure I even heard what she was saying. (Even from this still photo I can see the problem with my elbows - Bend elbows, bend!
Many thanks to Cha Ching's Madre for taking photos and videoing the session.
I have only ridden in a dressage court fourteen times, one time for each test that I've ridden. Coach and I have set up a court with cavaletti poles and cones, but it is just not quite the same thing ... Riding into Leslie's dressage court, knowing that I could go where I wanted, was quite a luxurious experience. At a show, you ride the test and then you GET OUT. You can't practice crossing the diagonal, circling at B, or canter down the long side. I did plenty of that with Leslie! Did I mention she had mirrors at C? I was so excited to be able to check myself out as I passed the mirror. Did I? Nope, NEVER EVEN LOOKED! I was so focused on doing what Leslie asked that I never saw the mirrors.
Speedy G had to be introduced to "himself" of course, and he LOVED the mirrors. I couldn't get him to look away. Here's a funny clip of his introduction to the mirrors.
I am finding it really hard to write about the lesson in detail. There was just so much. The video clip will probably give you a better taste of how it went since I actually felt like crying during most of the lesson. When I watched the entire lesson at home that night, I realized that Leslie was actually very supportive and positive.
Leslie is a tough instructor. There is no coddling, no friendly banter. It is all business. I was gasping for air after each chunk that we did. After some initial theory and explanation of how my body should work to get Speedy G's body to work, she tried to start us with serpentines. I bombed that part. Since my time in an actual dressage court has been so limited, I haven't learned to ride to the "marks." Once she realized I didn't get it, she grabbed some weeds and marked off the 20 meter marks on the center line. That really helped. She then backed up a bit and had me ride each of the three 20-meter circles independently. Then we went back to the serpentines. Much better.
Once I had Speedy G more on the bit (still not there, but better), she had me work on the canter. The video is from the end of the lesson. I was T-I-R-E-D by this point, but I held it together to finish the ride.
Day two with Leslie - tomorrow ...
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%: