From Endurance to Dressage
On the Right Track?
I wrote about Izzy's throttle being stuck yesterday. Hopefully my trainer makes it to Bakersfield this weekend for lessons, but in the meantime, I am working on the issue myself.
For the past several weeks, Izzy has decided that he can't/won't walk at any point during our rides. It doesn't matter how tired he is, he simply refuses to walk. Instead, he jigs or even piaffes. Talk about First World Problems: Woe is me, my horse won't quit piaffing! Sometimes it's a bit of passage, albeit a flat passage.
As I mentioned, his throttle is stuck in the on position. I like to solve problems. I don't always get them right, but when I get a positive result, I tend to go with it. I started to analyze why Izzy can't slow down and realized that he's completely on his forehand. That means he needs to lighten his front end by sitting down a bit.
Half halting was doing nothing. He just ran through my aids. Jerking his face off did nothing except wear me out. I realized that if I could get his shoulders moving around, I could probably break up the lock from his nose to withers.
Instead of fighting with the inside bend, which was just sending his shoulders further and further out, I asked for counter flexion. His neck was so locked up that he couldn't give it to me of course, so I laid into him with my outside spur and half halted HARD on the inside rein.
What do you know? All of a sudden, Izzy was sitting on his hind end just a bit which allowed him to free up his shoulders and turn. For a split second, he also let go of the bit.
I spent a solid 10 or 15 minutes doing counter flexion at the trot. Izzy finally started taking deep breaths and asked to walk. It was the first time he's been willing to walk in several weeks. Every time he tried to fall forward into a trot, I counter flexed him quickly and dug my spur in and insisted that he rock back on his hocks.
Right now, I don't care about throughness or a lifted back. Right now, I need him to start letting go of that bit so that he can listen to my aids. I think I am the right track. If nothing else, I finally found a way to unstick his throttle!
11/9/2016 02:26:05 pm
Souns like you are much more comfortable and positive now it has become an intellectual challenge to solve.
11/11/2016 09:56:00 am
Excellent suggestion! Thank you, I will definitely throw some out there. :)
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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%: