From Endurance to Dressage
When I rode Speedy on Sunday, I tried to keep in mind some of the work that Lois and I had done with Sydney the day before. Maybe Speedy was tired from the big gallop he had during his Saturday turnout, or maybe he was just in a better mood. Either way, we had a more pleasant ride on Sunday.
I gave myself plenty of time to ride and decided if all we did was walk, that would be okay. I just wanted a more supple horse. And so we walked. And walk. And walked some more. I focused on asking him to reach, always making sure I could see his inside eyelashes. I refused to hold the inside bend. Instead, I continued to flex and release, flex and release.
Lois said something during Saturday's lesson that flew right over my head during the lesson, but as Speedy and I walked around, I started thinking about what she had said. She said the only amount of (can't remember the word) that I need is the difference between squeezing my fingers closed, and allowing them to soften and open. While riding Speedy at the walk, I let squeezing my fingers be the amount of aid that I used in asking him for more inside flexion. He seemed to respond to the minimal aid.
After all of the walking work, I finally asked Speedy for some walk to trot transitions, and told him that I was going to use the same aid for flexion that I had used in the walk work. As always, his gas pedal wasn't working correctly at first, so I kept to the rail with no circles. At each short end, I ask him to step under with his inside hind, and on the long sides I asked for go, go, go. We also crossed the diagonal a few times so that he could start using the other inside hind as well.
Before too long, he was flexing better to the inside and definitely moving out. We did a few leg yields off the inside left left leg and did some right lead canter loops down both long sides. While he felt light in my hands for the loops, I knew he was actually quite heavy on the forehand as he took a bad stumble in the downward transition, twice! Not wanting to end on that note, I asked for a few trot to canter to trot transitions.
When he gave me a good canter to trot transition, I praised him, and hopped off. I wanted the work to be quick, if not necessarily easy. We were both much happier with the day's work. I really wish I could get a lesson with Chemain over in Moorpark, but it might have to wait until December. Until then, we'll do the best we can.
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%: