From Endurance to Dressage
I already mentioned that my last lesson with Chemaine Hurtado, owner and trainer at Symphony Dressage Stables, was a marathon of a day. Getting two lessons in a single day is such a luxury though. I was able to work on one thing with Speedy, and then carry it over to my work with Izzy. And as luck would have it, we worked on the same issue with both boys: a drifting shoulder.
Speedy's a well broke pony these days. He knows what he's supposed to be doing and offers very little complaint. It's nice to actually work on the quality of a movement rather than just trying to stay on and in the ring!
Over the past few months, Speedy has learned that he has a rear engine and can push - yah! for some impulsion. Using his engine is also fixing the curling problem. When I get his butt in gear, he keeps his poll up.
For this lesson, we were able to tackle new and different things, primarily getting better bend by controlling his shoulders. Speedy loves to fall out on his right shoulder. It's not such a big deal when we're tracking left, but when I want to do a change of lead or track right, it's a different story.
I have a confession. Usually I take great mental notes and am able to convey what Chemaine taught in the lesson. This time, I was feeling pretty puny from a stomach flu. I am bummed that I can't really articulate what we did because the feeling that she helped me achieve was pretty awesome.
I have another round of lessons in a few weeks, so I am not too worried about not being able to remember every detail of this lesson. The one big take away I had was to not focus on getting him to let go of the rein, but to think instead of how to get him on the other rein.
When we track right, especially at the canter, Speedy gets really heavy on the inside right rein. Instead of thinking, LET GO, DAMMIT!, which hasn't been too effective, Chemaine had me flex him to the inside while at the same time opening the outside left rein to draw his shoulder out.
To the left, I kind of did the opposite. I took that outside rein and pushed his shoulder in by counter flexing him slightly. By moving his shoulders around, I was able to get a much better outside rein connection. Once he was more solidly on my outside rein, he was able to sit. Almost immediately, the walk to canter to walk transitions improved.
We have a show before our next lesson, but I think even the parts I can remember about this lesson will help our scores improve.
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
*** SCEC 10/15-16/22
2022 Completed …
(*) Tehachapi 5/22/22
(*) Tehachapi 7/24/22
(***) Tehachapi 8/28/22
2023 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
Qualifying Training Level
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%:
Score 1: 62.115%