From Endurance to Dressage
Whew ... ! Thankfully I haven't seen Mr. Hyde for a few days. Did he leave town? I hope so. My last two rides on Sydney have gone very well. Not really "dressage well", but they've been at least more "Jekyll-ish" and less "Hyde-ish".
I started to do a trail ride in the adjacent hills, but each step away from the barn that we took, the more tense Sydney became. It wasn't the fight I wanted to have on that particular day, so I headed for the arena instead. I like to let my horses amble around the arena during their warmup, but I could sense with Sydney this wasn't going to work. Anxious horses don't amble, they get more nervous because they don't have anything to think about. I immediately started working circles at the walk. I pushed him out of the circle, I pushed him into the circle, I changed directions, I did turns on the haunches, and on and on. I actually started to worry that I might make him dizzy. It seemed to work however as he forgot about being fussy.
The next day I turned him out and let him gallop a few laps in either direction, but then it was back to work. From the middle of the arena, I stepped in front of his shoulder, slapped the lead rope against my lower leg and sent him the opposite direction. We did it over and over until he made some inside turns and started cocking his inside ear in my direction. AHA! Success. I turned him several more times until he stopped and waited for me to halter him. Ultimately, I prefer my horses come to me when I call, but he'll get there. For this day, just stopping the frenzied gallop was enough. I cooled him off, saddled him, and continued working.
As we had done the day before, we started with walk circles that moved in and out. Once he felt relaxed, although not especially soft, I asked him to pick up the trot. Again, success! No head pop, and he kept his pace nice and relaxed. We circled both directions several times, and when he felt relaxed, I halted him, gave him a Good-Boy scratch, and hopped off.
It seems as though Mr. Hyde appears when Sydney feels isolated from the herd. He is much more comfortable in, and near, the barn. My arena sits about 50 yards from the barn and the horses can be hard to see if they're eating or resting in the shade. So my plan for the last several days has been to build Sydney's confidence and to let him know that he and I are a small herd of which I am the leader. He doesn't quite believe that I am the leader ... yet, but he will!
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%: