From Endurance to Dressage
On Wednesday, best friend and I loaded both horses at 7:00 a.m. for the two and a half hour journey to Moorpark for lessons with Chemaine Hurtado, owner and trainer of Symphony Dressage Stables. It was the first time I've taken both horses to somewhere other than the vet.
They trailer together just fine and are amazing buddies while tied to the trailer. That's the reason I don't like to take both of them at the same time; they're too friendly. Best friend came along to run interference. I saddled Speedy first while she led Izzy to a nearby stall. He screamed. Speedy screamed. They all screamed. When I switched horses, the screaming began anew even though the horses could see each other the entire time.
While it was frustrating to deal with the separation anxiety, both boys ultimately worked fabulously. It was a long day though. Between all the hosing off, driving five hours, tacking up, removing tack, and eating lunch, it took twelve hours. For two lessons. I don't think I could have done it all without best friend.
Since I see Chemaine only about once a month, I always arrive with an agenda. For the lesson on Speedy, I really needed to address my position, especially at the sitting trot.
I explained to Chemaine that I could sit the trot as long as Speedy kept to a pretty slow tempo. The problem I am having is when Speedy does a lengthening. There is no way I can sit the bigger stride. As always, Chemaine had some very constructive ideas for helping me figure it out.
First, she had me look up. Doesn't that fix a whole lot of stuff? The reason is that you need to rotate your pelvis and tuck, tuck, tuck with your seat. If you're looking down though, you're stomach muscles are already somewhat engaged, so you have less room in which to move your pelvis.
The next thing we talked about was not following Speedy's motion. What? I thought that's what I was supposed to do - follow him. Chemaine pointed out that that is the reason I get left behind in the longer stride. Rather than follow him, I need to dictate the tempo with my seat. Boy, did that solve a lot of issues!
Chemine explained that for a more collected trot, I'll tuck my seat bone and kind of pull my pubic bone towards my belly button, kind of like doing a mini crunch. To get a longer stride, I'll drive with my butt muscles by engaging them along with tucking my seat bone.
It's hard, but I have a good start, and I truly am working on it each day. The lesson included way more than just the sitting trot though. And, I also rode Izzy. I'll sort through the rest of the video and share more on Monday. I will say though that Izzy was REALLY good!
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%: