From Endurance to Dressage
More of Day 2 with Christian Schacht
First, I need to offer a very heartfelt thank you to those of you who have taken the time to offer me feedback over the last few days. I have enjoyed your comments very much. Some of you have answered my questions, some have sympathized with the difficulty of the exercises, and some have been excited to try some of Christian's strategies.
For me, this blog is a way to process what I am learning, and having you all chime in has been like having a deep conversation. You've all given me excellent ways to think about why we do things and how we do things. Writing in such detail can be tiring, my fingers are dragging across the keyboard tonight, but knowing that putting words to ideas will lead me to better understanding, makes it a very worthwhile endeavor.
And with that, here's a little bit about my second ride on Sydney …
I already told you yesterday that I was pretty beat after my second ride on Speedy. Those exercises that Christian had me do were both physically and mentally challenging. I knew that what lay ahead was not going to be any easier.
Let's see if I can do the short version:
Here's another Sarah photo - I still look quite tense, but Sydney is moving pretty nicely.
After the lesson, while I was untacking and putting Sydney away, Christian gave me a hug and told me what a good job I'd done. He later remarked to Chemaine Hurtado, my (not often enough used) Ventura trainer, that I am quite brave and have improved tremendously. So while I may have been a bit of an emotional pile of goo after I dismounted, the positive feedback I received from everyone let me know that I didn't have any reason to be disappointed.
I need to add a special thank you to the OTTB rider who came out of nowhere to engulf me in a gigantic bear hug. Even though she didn't know me, she completely empathized with my situation and knew that I needed a bit of moral support. Thanks to you, kind lady!
Sarah, of Eventing in Color did a brilliant write up of the clinic here. As an auditor, she was able to really listen to what Christian was saying without trying to also make her body do things it had never tried before. She took excellent notes which I have decided to unabashedly copy and paste. Why reinvent the wheel, eh?
So, thanks to Sarah, here are some excellent Schachtisms:
From Karen on Speedy, Sunday:
And still more from Sarah's observations...
This final lesson was the most meaningful to me. Sydney started off quite tense, then worked out of it, then got tense again, then improved again. I felt so much empathy for Karen - after all, we have the same issue of our amazing-at-home-OTTBs going nutso when away from home (only sometimes! which is somehow worse!).
I have a few more things that I'd like to share about this clinic experience, but they'll need to wait for another day. Right now, I need another drink, some dinner, and bed. Have a great day!
Oh man, I LOVE his approach to those shenanigans. I've heard similar training philosophies (if they want to go, then GO. if they want to back, then BACK) in the western world but never seen it in dressage. Sounds like it was a tough day, but I hope you are feeling very proud of yourself now looking back.
12/19/2013 09:37:38 am
Thanks, Lauren. It's more a feeling of satisfaction, sort of like you get after a really hard work out. :0)
12/19/2013 09:38:15 am
That's the truth!!!!
12/18/2013 11:42:53 pm
isn't it amazing how often doing nothing is the solution to a problem? it just blows my mind, and i'm only getting that now, after all these years "winning fights" with a submissive, dorky gelding who would have made the perfect opposite book end of speedy when he was younger. your post also reminded me of a c.s. lewis quote from one of the narnia books, paraphrasing, "given enough time, fear always gives way to boredom."
12/19/2013 09:46:34 am
I am HORRIBLE at doing nothing. My whole being revolts at the idea of doing nothing. I pride myself on being a DOER. :0)
12/19/2013 01:37:44 am
Awesome! What a great clinic. I can see you and both your boys learning so much! Look out next show season!!
12/19/2013 09:47:10 am
I can't wait for our first show!!!!
12/19/2013 04:01:52 am
My former trainer, whose barn had eight ottbs, was also a fan of making everything that happens in the arena your idea. The horse won't know that it wasn't - unless you tell them. ;D
12/19/2013 09:49:12 am
Thanks! I always complain about my lack of access to good dressage trainers, but after reading about your transportation issues (no bridge), I am going to stop complaining! :0)
12/19/2013 04:06:45 am
When one owns one of the hot/spooky TB's it can get so frustrating, especially when everybody else seems to be doing fine. I think we will all be better horsemen when we finally train the horse we want and overcome the challenge. I took my spooky guy to an all TB show in Washington state this fall, and he was a complete jerk in the crowded warm-up arena for both jumps and flat classes. Almost scrubbed the jump classes twice, then he calmed down out by himself and did a presentable job. Two realizations 1) need to take him to every small show i can find to desensitize him for what i want to do, and 2) i'm guessing lots of people with hot horses are afraid to take them public, so it makes you feel like a standout when you are the only one at a show. i'm trying to turn that into a positive thing in my brain, and i hope you can too.
12/19/2013 09:51:23 am
I LOVE your realizations!!!! I am already working on number 1 myself, but I am pretty limited here. Most everything even kind of near me is USDF/USEF. And you're absolutely right about number 2 - people only bring the steady eddies so when we brave souls bring our wiggly guys, they DO standout. Thanks so much for sharing!!!!!
Seriously you are not giving yourself nearly enough credit for how you handled that ride. Doing nothing was the hardest thing to do - and guess what, you did it! Over and over! We pay clinicians the big bucks to whisper in our ears, but at the end of the day it was your tush in the saddle (and it stayed there just fine, even with the kicking out and taking down the arena corner) and you did an EXCELLENT JOB at actually DOING IT!! That, my dear, is why I and everyone else were so darn impressed with your ride. It looked hard, it sounded hard, and yet you did it, and of course it worked. YOU ROCK!!! Sydney is so lucky to have you!
12/19/2013 09:58:16 am
Sarah - you brought me to tears. You are so kind and generous in your comments. As hard as I try, I just can't be a glass half full. Instead, all I see is how much empty space is in my cup. I see how much we still need to learn. I am STARVING for knowledge and feel compelled to search out any nuggets that I can find, wherever they may be.
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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%: