From Endurance to Dressage
I am not sure it counts as a success or not, but we lived, I didn't get dumped, and I feel encouraged. I also have video, but I am positively loathe to show it to you as it is that bad.
Hubby brought Tobias, who was a very good boy, so I had some good moral support. I was also blessed to have Lois Quinn coach me through both warm-ups. She had me watch the video of the first test as soon as I had finished so that I got some immediate feedback. This is a good strategy. Not that I usually have access to video, but when next I do, I'm going to watch it if possible.
So, where to begin?
Here is what went really well:
Before I show you the pictures of our warm-up, please don't be too critical. Here is the issue: at home, Sydney (after 18 months of work) is submissive, happy in his work, and usually quite relaxed. I am now struggling with how to ride a forward, nervous, powerful horse who is worried about doing the wrong thing while not at home.
Lois is working with me to break some pretty strong habits: I want to pull back when he rushes off, and my hands go all over the place as I try to maintain the contact. Learning something new in the warm-up (who does that?) is really hard, but I take my dressage lessons where I can get them. Lois had me trying to establish a rhythm while insisting that Sydney maintain the pace I set without pulling back.
To do that, I posted the pace I wanted. If he hurried, my task was to halt him in one stride and then RELEASE the frickin' rein immediately. She had me working on giving my hands forward with my thumbs on top. You won't see that in the photos though as I struggled with releasing my death grip on the reins. Ultimately, she wanted us to trot with a loop in the rein so that he understood that carrying himself while maintaining my pace was a good thing. I cannot tell you how often I do that at home. That is ultimately how we fixed the bolting at home; I just rode with a loose rein.
We got it sometimes. Other times, I was riding a stiff freight train. After watching the video, I can see that I need to learn a new feeling of give when Sydney is high and tense. I have a lesson with Lois next Monday. The weather where Lois lives is much more wintery than here, but I hope to go up at least once a month for as long as the snow holds off.
Overall? We actually warmed up which is a HUGE improvement. Having a coach at a show is such a huge advantage. Lois helped me help Sydney have an experience that wasn't exactly fabulous, but at least it was controlled and calm.
With that, here are some photos of our warm up. Video of the first test will be up tomorrow, but be forewarned; you will cringe for me when you see it.
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%