From Endurance to Dressage
I'll admit it: I am a bit of a Pollyanna. I make lemonade out of lemons. I see the glass half full, and I always look for the silver lining. And it's not like it's a forced outlook on life. I actually can't help it. If someone says the traffic is going to be horrible, my very first response is maybe it won't be too bad. The line is always terrible at this place. My view? Oh, it'll go fast.
I just can't see going through life with a pessimistic view; it's hard enough as it is. That's why most of my blog posts focus on AHA moments rather than Oh, Crap! ones; on products that I like rather than on those that don't meet my standards; and on the day to day stuff that makes having horses fun.
With that said, that does not mean I live a charmed life. I deal with the same amount of fugly as the rest of the world, but I choose not to focus on it. Like this week - Monday was Izzy's day for turnout, but then an afternoon meeting kept me away from the barn on Tuesday. That's the day he should have been ridden.
On Wednesday, he came out of his stall pretty relaxed and seemed happy to see me. I groomed, tacked, up, and got on. We walked for a few moments, but then all hell broke loose. I could not figure out which horse I was on. Someone had clearly reversed time to six months ago, or some train wreck of a horse had been spray painted brown.
He R-E-F-U-S-E-D to be anything but a bolting piece of lumber. I schooled him for 45 minutes. I had him do serpentines, lots and lots of serpentines, in an effort to get him to soften his body somewhere. I tried letting him canter, but that just set his tension dial even higher.
In the end, he did sort of relax, but the whole thing was a hot mess of disappointment. After I rode, I pulled his tack and turned him out. He then proceeded to buck and gallop for another 45 minutes. He turned himself into a dripping, foaming, heaving sack of horse flesh. I had to hand walk him afterwards and then he spent some time in a cooler.
I went home totally discouraged and demoralized ...
But since I can't live that way for long, I reasoned that Izzy just can't do two days in a row without turn out. I put on my big girl breeches and hopped up in the saddle yesterday afternoon. The ride lasted an entire 16 minutes. In that time, we walked, changed the bend, did the Introductory Level trot circles and changes of bend across the diagonal, and even tossed in some leg yields across the full diagonal. First Level doesn't even leg yield across the whole diagonal.
Oh, my! can this horse leg yield. He can do it all day long. The only reason he doesn't do it perfectly is because my timing is a bit slow. Sometimes I let his haunches trail and other times I over-correct.
Maybe I need to skip all the lower level stuff and go straight for Second or Third Level. Flying changes and lateral work are just so "easy" for him. Maybe he think 20-meter circles are just too boring.
I am kidding of course ... mostly!
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%: