From Endurance to Dressage
I had a lesson with Chemaine last weekend. On the drive home, I was disappointed at what seemed like another two-steps backwards kind of day. While discouraged, I was also motivated to press on, keep persevering, stick it out. Chemaine convinced me that this horse is worth it. She's certain that once he gets it, he's going to literally fly through the lower levels. I didn't really believe her until I started looking at the media that Jen caught for me.
Unlike other lessons, I didn't have to try very hard to find lovely moments; the video clips were filled with them. I watched the videos in order, grabbing shots as I went, so these pictures were caught in order of the lesson.
So, here are nine reasons to love Izzy, and one that will make you go WHAT!?!?
1) Not stepping very deeply, but his poll is nice and high and his face is perfectly on the vertical.
2) He's not bolting through the corner - finally, and he's thinking about softening to the outside rein. He's a bit behind the vertical though.
3) it took us a while to go through this corner this soft and round.
4) And even longer to get through this corner!
5) You can practically feel how strongly he wants to get the heck out of Dodge in this photo!
6) Same thing here, but I like the steady and even connection that I am keeping.
7) I tried to make sure all of these photos were as level as I could get them. Notice that the top end of the arena is pretty darned straight. Then look at how much higher his withers are than his croup. This boy already has some serious sitting power.
8) He finally got soft enough that I could completely give the inside rein.
9) This is my favorite photo of them all. This was the softest and roundest canter that he has ever offered. Stride after stride I reached forward to pat his neck, releasing the inside rein the whole time. Look at how much he has lifted his back underneath me. Swoon! And I did this, me! Chemaine's lessons are the reason of course, but it doesn't change the fact that it was MY riding that made it happen.
During the week, I've been studying the videos and capturing screen shots. The images tell a much different story from the one I told myself on the drive home. It's not just a different story, it's a much better one, and it's true! I don't know how I got so lucky, but Izzy is truly a lovely, lovely horse.
By studying these photos (and the videos), I've been able to make some changes in my position and application of my aids. In just two rides this week, I've been able to affect noticeable change in how Izzy is working, and it is practically intoxicating.
But just so you don't think I've grown a big head now that I have such a fancy schmancy dressage horse, here's a blooper shot to keep me humble. And if I wanted to, I could probably find a hundred or so others just like it.
10) Dude is still pretty opinionated.
No worries, Izzy. I have seen the real you, and you are one fine dude!
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%