From Endurance to Dressage
No photos and nothing fancy. This is just a simple post to express my … relief. I had the best rides on my boys yesterday. And that doesn't happen very often. If one is great, the other is a fire breathing dragon. But not yesterday.
And it was actually one of those days where they would have been justified in being tense and spooky. Starting at 7:30 a.m., the neighbor was using a compressor and a NASCAR tire changing nail gun. Now I don't think it was really a tire changing thing, but as a NASCAR fan, that's EXACTLY what it sounded like. The neighbor was repairing some broken fence boards, and to make the job quicker, he had his brother bring over the compressor that's built into his truck. It was loud. Very loud.
Every horse in the barn was a little freaked out. Both of my boys were zipping around their runs with their heads in the air. Sydney was rearing, bucking, and throwing in some serious squeals. Speedy was doing the same thing. Instead of saddling up like I normally do at that time, I turned each horse out in the arena so that he could run off some of the anxiety that was quickly building.
Speedy was a total wild child. Unfortunately, he took a divot out of his foot, just above the coronet band. After a quick betadine scrub, the wound looked innocuous enough, so I did saddle up. The neighbor assured me that he would be done with the job within the hour, and true to his word, he was. But you know how it can be. Once the horses get that riled up, it can be hard to bring them back down to Earth.
Even though he was tense in the cross ties, Speedy brought his "Rock Star" persona to the arena. He was simply pleasant to ride. I have had some pretty big AHA moments with him over the last few weeks, and yesterday, a lot of things just came together. I am finding that I am riding him back to front with more regularity. When I sit up and use a lot of leg, his head comes down and he gives me a really nice stretch. And that outside hand thing that I spoke of yesterday? I totally addressed that and feel like I am on a good path with him.
And Sydney? Let's just say that when I finally got off of him, I leaned my forehead between his big, brown eyes and just let out a little sob of relief. He and I have been working so hard to pull this whole thing together, and yesterday, he rode like the Steady Eddy that I know he can be. We did walk/trot/canter to both the left and the right without a single misstep. He was right with for me every stride.
The morning started out looking like a disaster, but when I let the have to get it done right now thinking fall away, my rides were perfect. At a lesson a few days ago, Sydney reached down to scratch his face. I gave my trainer a quick oops and a sorry, but she explained that sometimes, it's better to let our horses know that scratching is okay because we aren't in any hurry.
That really resonated with me. I am in a hurry a lot. But yesterday, I wasn't, and I got something really great as a reward.
6/17/2014 11:37:31 pm
Great post! Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could all take that "Aha" moment to heart and carry it with us through our hectic days! Without the frantic "hurry" mode we're in so often, we would likely get more done and be much more relaxed and happy to boot. Love hearing about you and your horsey family!
6/18/2014 04:59:09 am
I agree. It's much easier for me to do during the summer when I am not working full time. I have all day to do nothing. In the fall and winter when I have to be done by dark, it can be difficult to stay calm and relaxed. :0)
6/18/2014 05:02:01 am
We used the concept again today when he got tense about something I did wrong. We helped him reorganize by convincing him that we truly are not in a hurry. My trainer kept asking, "Does he believe you?" Once he's farther along in his training and begins to use the scratching as an excuse to stop working, then we'll have to tell him no, but for right now, having him stop to scratch is a great way to diffuse his tension and let him know that there is no pressure. :0)
6/18/2014 05:03:03 am
We just talked about that very thing at the end of today's lesson. Now that I "get it," he is so much happier with his life. :0)
6/23/2014 12:56:43 pm
That idea now runs through my entire ride on Sydney. It has made a HUGE difference.
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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%: