From Endurance to Dressage
My 5 Things: For the Sassy Pony
When Chemaine Hurtado, owner and trainer at Symphony Dressage Stables, was here for a clinic this past weekend, I asked her if I should bother taking Izzy to schooling shows. It's not like I really want to, but I wondered if I needed to.
You all saw this moment, right? Which, by the way, is actually one of my new favorite photos. The dude's got a super sexy badonkadonk! But yeah ... this is why I don't want to show him right now. We've got some work left to do.
Chemaine felt my time (and consequently, money) would be better spent cleaning up some of the sassiness that Izzy thinks is his to share. I agreed. So for now, there are five things to work on before we're ready to hit even a schooling show.
My Five Things for a Sassy Pony:
1. Supple Izzy's back with just one seat bone at a time.
2. Get a stretch down before changing the bend.
3. Get more inside bend when he gets spooky and then firm up that outside rein.
4. Cross the inside rein over in front of my pommel to encourage him to release the inside rein.
5. Discipline the felonies while letting the misdemeanors slide.
When I rode Izzy on Monday, I made sure to run through everything on the list. While it was pretty warm, and he was well worked from the day before, he wasn't totally push button. He actually gave me some cheekiness which let me use tips four and five.
In a 20 minute ride, he obediently walked every inch of the arena, did a number of changes of bend across the diagonal at the trot, and picked up both canter leads without too much fuss. To the right, I crossed my inside hand across the pommel for a few strides, but he gave up the fight almost immediately.
My goal, while pretty dang lofty, is to have no "felonious" moments the next time we see Chemaine for a lesson or clinic. Yesterday was a bit of a litmus test. Even with a day off, which normally elicits plenty of sass, he toed the line and was well behaved.
Will these strategies work well enough to convince him that it's easier to do it my way? I hope so, but if not, I know for sure that we are getting really close to that yummy, chewy center!
3/16/2017 12:39:14 pm
The problem with some horses (looking at YOU, big brown horse) is that they take the least little correction as an assault on their character. I have to really pick my battles with Izzy, or the fight is on. Chemaine helped me differentiate between the misdemeanors and the felonies.
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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.
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