From Endurance to Dressage
M.A.R.E - Week 17
Today is my final day as a MARE volunteer. While I am looking forward to having my Wednesdays back, I'm also a bit sad to be leaving. Being a volunteer has been a very rewarding experience.
Wednesday afternoons have really filled up. We have four kiddos that ride in three lessons while I am there, a little boy, two girls, and the 5th grader that has quickly become my favorite. Last Wednesday, our first little guy was a no-show which was disappointing as Trainer 2 had worked on some songs to try to get him to engage with us. The two girls showed up for their lesson though as did our last kiddo of the day.
My little lady rider got to use the reins for stopping and turning. Since she's a little uncoordinated, the reins were clipped to the riding halter so that she wouldn't annoy Cricket. Instead of the rides where the kids find puzzle pieces or toss bean bags into buckets, the lesson was about influencing the horse with the reins in order to execute right and left turns.
For the 5th Grader's lesson, he was working on go, whoa, and turning almost solo. My job was to be there in case of an emergency or spook. He used a side walker for one lap around the arena, but after that it was just him and me with Trainer 1 keeping a close eye.
It was by far the funnest lesson I've done at MARE. T1 set up a speaker and asked our 5th Grader what kind of music he liked. She had him do a Red Light- Green Light sort of game where he whoa'ed Smoothie when the music stopped and then sent him forward when the music started up again. For turning right and left, she had him follow her around the arena as she weaved between cones and did figure eights.
It's a challenge for the horse handler to keep control while still allowing the rider to be effective with the aids. Smoothie followed T1 to some degree, and I am sure my body position affected him in the turns as well, but I really did try to let the rider make the turns without my help. It was so much fun to see our rider feel empowered as he rode.
There was talk that this particular rider might get to ride on his own this afternoon. I sure hope so!
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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%: