From Endurance to Dressage
I know this (maybe) quits being interesting after one or two write-ups, but it is so helpful for me to break down the lessons with photos and videos. I won't be offended if you skip reading; I get it - boring! Chemaine is just so good at filling you to the brim with information that it can take days to sort through all of it.
When Chemaine videos my lessons, she uses what she records as a way to leave me with an instructional video that I can watch later. She deliberately narrates so that I get two lessons for the price of one - one while I am riding, and then a second for later.
If you read Monday's post, you saw that we improved our leg yields from the previous month. I had no idea that we would make them even better on Sunday, but we did. Once Speedy understood that he couldn't get away from the left rein, he started digging deep and making those leg yields work for him.
The leg yield at First Level, Test 3 goes from one corner to x and then back to the rail at the next corner. I call it a zig zag. You can see in the video that it goes pretty well, but as we're leg yielding to the right, Speedy's haunches are to the left, which is where they should be.
What I didn't realize is that this movement is much like trotting a figure of eight. The horse needs a stride or two to get his body straight before changing the bend. I've been riding this leg yield without that straightening moment. What happens as a result is that when I change the bend and leg yield to the left, his haunches are now leading.
To fix this, Chemaine had me do the leg yield with the outside (right) rein locked down which keeps Speedy's outside shoulder in place. Just before X, I need to get him straight again so that I can change the bend and leg yield him to the left. This means that I need to open the outside (left) rein so that I can move his shoulder in front of his hind end so that the hind end is not leading. It's the opposite problem of the shoulder leading.
You can see in the video that Chemaine has us build up to the movement in First Level Test 3 by simply leg yielding to the quarter line. While leg yielding from K to X to H is not "that" hard, it's made much more difficult in a short court because the horse has a lot less room to get to X than in a standard court. When we do it this weekend in a full length court, it's going to feel like I have miles to get the job done.
Speedy can cross over pretty deeply, but it's not yet really rhythmical or consistent. To help get a better quality leg yield, Chemaine had me think about really shortening his stride in front. Doing so gives him time to get his hind end over without his front end running off. He also seemed to have much better rhythm when I shortened his stride.
Here's the actual movement from K to X to H.
The next thing we worked on was the 10-meter circles. For the most part we've scored pretty well on these, but as always, Chemaine knows how to make the task easier for both of us.
As we come out of the corner at M, Chemaine instructed me to do a shoulder in as we come to the 10-meter circle at R. This gets Speedy thinking about bending so that the 10-meter circle isn't so abrupt. As we finish the 10-meter circle and continue down the rail to B, she had me maintain the shoulder in for the right turn. After the halt at X, we need to turn left down the rail again with a shoulder in as we prepare for the second 10-meter circle at V. If we maintain the shoulder in, our corner should also ride much more smoothly.
To wrap up the day, Chemaine had me do some canter work. We did some more canter lengthenings (YouTube video here), and as with the 10-meter circles, she had me ride the lengthening with s shoulder in to keep him on my outside rein.
We also worked on the one loop canter from First Level, Test 3. That movement has gotten easier and easier, but Chemaine saw a way to help me keep Speedy better balanced after the top of the loop. The top of the loop rides in counter canter so the horse is bent in the opposite direction which means it's easy to lose control of the haunches and over-shoot X.
As we crossed X, Chemaine reminded me to keep my outside leg back so that I could use it to almost pivot his hind end around to keep us heading back to the rail rather than the other side of the ring. I was surprised at how much easier the canter rode by sending his haunches to X.
Here's a short video of that movement.
We're going to a two-day USDF show this weekend, so I hope I can remember all of this. Chemaine put it pretty simply though ...
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 Second Level. 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%
2021 Show Season
(r) Ride-a-Test Clinic
(Q) Must Qualify
2021 Pending …
3/6-7 El Sueño (***)
4/17-18 El Sueño (***)
5/16-17 El Sueño (***)
5/23 TMC (*)
6/12-13 SB (***) OR
6/19-20 El Sueño (***)
6/27 TMC (*)
7/3-4 Burbank (***) OR
7/17-18 El Sueño (***)
7/25 TMC (*)
8/14-15 RAAC (Q) (***)
8/29 TMC (*)
2021 Completed …
10/24-25 SCEC (***)
11/7-11/8 SB (***)
2021 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
2nd Level Qualifying
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%:
Score 1: 60.610% Bhathal
2nd Level Qualifying
5 Scores/4 Judges/61%:
Stuff I Read