From Endurance to Dressage
For day 2 of the clinic, I opted to ride Izzy at the very end of the day. My thinking was that everyone would be gone, and the excitement of the day would have grown old for him. I was wrong. Most everyone stayed to catch "the show," and he was on fire! I don't mind an audience (most of the time), and truthfully, how can we ever be ready for a show atmosphere if we don't get to practice with a crowd?
I'll admit it though, I felt almost nauseous as I got on. I pulled Chemaine to the side and voiced my apprehension. She knows that I can be very ... intense in my riding, so she immediately lightened the mood with the ladies who had stayed to watch. She knew that a quick joke or two would get me to relax, and it worked. Within minutes, my anxiety passed, and I started riding my horse.
It was a good thing I did as he was higher than a kite. He was more "up" than he had been the day before. He squealed, grunted, launched into the air, and corkscrewed a few times. He basically spent 30 minutes acting like a bucking horse at the rodeo. I know it sounds like my anxiety caused his, but Chemaine later reassured me that it was all him.
Unfortunately, no one got any video or photos for me, so this photo is from the day before, but I will say that his shenanigans were spectacular. The entire time, Chemaine just encouraged me to keep asking for what I wanted. I never let up. Since he couldn't do anything but explode, I kept my heel in his side and pushed him around and around. I counter flexed, moved his haunches in, moved his haunches out, and then did it all again.
When we talked about it later, Chemaine pointed out that right now, there really isn't anything that she can say except to confirm what I am already doing. I was actually happy with that. It's hard to give a lesson to someone on a rodeo horse, but she helped by not letting me back off. When I am riding alone, I do my best, but I worry that I am asking for too much or that I am causing his tension.
Having Chemaine there in my ear pushing us through the attitude gave me the confidence to keep doing what I was doing. And the result? It worked. After that first half hour, he finally started giving up. Little by little, I was able to open up the circle and really get a good quality canter, and a long stretchy trot.
We did play around with a fun exercise once his brain was back in his head. Chemaine had me do a 10-meter canter circle and then go straight for a few strides and then back into a 10-meter canter circle. I felt that it really kept his mind on his job because he couldn't get bored by the same circle. It got him really listening to me and using his body to keep his balance.
By the end of the lesson, Izzy was doing a very lovely right lead canter that was soft and relaxed. I was even able to spiral in to a 10-meter circle. Given that he couldn't even get a right lead canter a year ago, I was super pleased with what I was able to accomplish with him.
If the weather cooperates, Chemaine will be back at the beginning of March for another clinic. I am looking forward to seeing what Izzy and I can get done before we see her again.
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%: