From Endurance to Dressage
Green beans are hard to ride; they're difficult for a variety of reasons. Some of them are unpredictable in when and how robustly they will spook or buck. Some are more predictable which means you have to be prepared for their regularly scheduled shenanigans.
Green beans are also challenging because they don't know very much. When you ask for a canter, they trot faster, when you ask for soft and round, they barrel through your aids. When you cue for a haunches in, they grunt or squeal and toss their head in confusion.
When you know you have a green bean waiting for you at the barn, your normal lead foot gets suddenly lighter and you take a lot more time to get to the barn - if you arrive at all.
My riding schedule changes every day. Some days, I know I need as much energy as possible so I ride Izzy first. If I think he's going to be a real handful, I want to be as fresh as possible. Other days, I ride for fun first and then tackle the more arduous ride later.
When I rode Izzy this weekend, I realized that my green bean has started to show some predictability - in a good way. For the first couple of minutes, he's pretty mellow as we do some walking work. He knows the real work is coming though, so once those minutes have passed, he stars to get anxious.
I am finding that if I ask him to wait a bit longer, I can start to control the tension. He's just now starting to understand that I am in control of our rhythm. When he settles back down into a walk rhythm that I am "okay" with. We move on to some trot work.
The first 10 or 15 minutes of trot work are either easy as pie, or he spends the whole time flipping me the bird in an effort to convince me that he can't do the work. He whirls left or right, usually right, squeals, whines, sucks waaaaay back, rams his nose straight in the air to bolt, or exits stage left with the right rein firmly in his grasp.
If I can make it though all of that, his brain suddenly switches on, and he starts flicking his ears in my direction. Once the I can't do it stuff is over, he really starts to try. His leg yield is actually developing pretty nicely, and it's much easier to get than on Speedy. He can also now do a bit of shoulder in and haunches in. He can spiral down the arena, do 10-meter half circles, and his changes of bend are pretty decent.
Every day, I look forward to reducing the I can't minutes and increasing the hey! this is fun time. I just have to remind myself that it doesn't all have to happen this week.
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%