From Endurance to Dressage
Last one - I swear!
While Izzy was still sore for Sunday, he did look marginally better. I am not happy that he's still sore, in fact, I am fighting panic about it, but then I give myself a firm shake and remind myself that it's only been two weeks. If it truly is a bruise, it might take more than a month to heal. When Izzy fell on me a month or so ago, I hurt my wrist and thumb. It still hurts when I press on it with even mild pressure. It doesn't mean I am broken for life. It just needs more time to heal.
You can see the lameness in the video. It's worse when the circles are small or he pivots on the left front leg. Going straight, he's nearly sound, and to the right I can't even feel it. Chemaine kept this in mind as she schooled us. She even reminded ME a few times to keep him straighter to the left so he doesn't have to bear as much weight on the left leg.
We mostly picked up where we had left off the day before - installing a half halt. I warmed up with a walk to halt to walk and then I moved on to the trot to walk. Quickly into the ride, Chemaine had me trotting the long sides of the arena doing the change the bend, half halt, change the bend, half halt.
I like this exercise for Izzy because it is very simple. There's nothing about my weight aids or my imbalances to confuse him. And rather than just trying to work on being round, it gives him a lot more to think about. And the best effect of this exercise is that it make him feel good. As he changes the bend, his body starts to relax so the work feels good - like stretching makes me feel.
We next repeated the previous day's work at the canter. Once again, Chemaine had me leg yield to the corner so that I could put Izzy solidly on the outside rein as I asked for a canter. He decided that he wanted nothing to do with that. He did canter, but then he galloped straight ahead and flat out refused to turn left.
I had this problem with Sydney, and frankly, I got pretty effective with my outside rein. Izzy has been trying this for the last month or so. I eventually started carrying the whip and would whack his shoulder when he reused to turn. That seemed to fix the problem. I then traded the whip for baby spurs, and things were going great. And then on Sunday, they weren't going great at all.
Chemaine had me physically haul his head around to the left to pull him into the circle while half halting with my outside rein. All that happened was that he galloped down the fence line folded in half. Then she had me pull his head around and kick as hard as I could with my inside leg. All that did was exhaust me.
Instead of obviously blowing through the outside shoulder, Izzy found a way to do it subtly by refusing to move his haunches out. I know it's hard to picture, but he let me turn the front half of his body left for the turn, but the back half of his body kept propelling straight.
After a half a dozen tries to kick his haunches around, I called for a whip. We picked up the canter, I said turn left, and then I smacked the inside of his haunches HARD HARD HARD until he whirled around. I patted his neck and did it again. The second time, he did the same thing, so I smacked him repeatedly until he finally spun his haunches to the outside. The third time I asked for the left turn, I had to smack him hard, but he actually made the turn without galloping down the arena.
The forth time we picked up the canter, Chemaine told me to hold the whip quietly without smacking him. And guess what? Izzy decided to make the turn. We quit the lesson on that effort.
Unlike Sydney, who simply checked out and bolted out of tension, Izzy is very smart and always thinking. When he gets an idea, he likes to try it a few times to see if it will work for him. Cantering in a frame is work, and he's not a huge fan of work.
I may have to use the whip agin to remind him that he can make the circle, but he's proven to me time and time again that once he learns something, it sticks. I m looking forward to being able to ride a sound horse, so it might be a few more weeks before we're back on a regular riding schedule.
Our next clinic is planned for November 22nd. Anyone interested in coming?
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%