From Endurance to Dressage
Well, I gotta say, Boot Camp is turning out to be a bit of a dud. Hopefully I haven't just jinxed myself, but really. My sassy six-year old is turning out to be far more simple and transparent than I would have ever thought.
Speedy is the opposite of simple; he's a very complicated horse. He's over reactive, hot, and prone to get the hell out of Dodge. He's the freak-out-now, ask-questions-later type. But, he's also willing, super smart, eager to play, quick to ham it up, in my back pocket, and more than happy to strut his stuff in the show ring. I "get' Arabs; I know how they think, and I adore their quirky personalities.
Izzy, on the other hand, seems to be very content to let me call the shots. My big plan to tie him up in various kinds of places to teach him some patience while he forgets about his little herd, well, that seems done. I tied him up to my trailer again for nearly an hour on Tuesday afternoon. All he did was stand there with a leg cocked while offering the occasional long look at what I was doing in the arena. There was no nervous sweating or pacing. B-o-r-i-n-g.
Yesterday afternoon, we did the same neighborhood walk that on Saturday had caused so much yelling and crying. Other than still trying to walk on my heels, he was pretty good. He called once or twice, but they weren't the gut wrenching screeches of the other day, and he knew he was busted as soon as he did it. And of course, as soon as he did cry, my rope was sending his haunches around and around. There were a few times that he wanted to call back to Speedy, but when I gave a tug on the halter to redirect his attention, he thought better of it.
The newest skill I am teaching him is to plant a front hoof on the mounting block like the farrier will do with a hoof stand. When I messed around with the trick on Tuesday, Izzy knocked the whole mounting block over (Speedy would have erupted) and then just stood there looking at it. I put his leg back up and he stood there. And stood there. And stood there. Again, B-O-R-I-N-G!
While I was picking out a front hoof, something he's getting really good at, he lost his balance. I felt him start to buckle so I dropped the leg. The silly dude fell to both knees while in the cross ties. I stepped back while he ever so carefully heaved himself back to all four legs. He had a horrified expression on his face. I told him that is why ponies must hold up their own legs. I picked the same leg back up and got to work. He stood like a statue.
After I clean out his hooves, I take each leg and place it between my knees to hammer on it like the farrier does. When he was first shod with the trainer up north, I was told that he threw an absolute hysterical fit and needed to be sedated by the vet. I don't necessarily doubt that, but on the other hand, this horse must be the fastest learner on the planet. I can whack those feet pretty dang hard and he never pulls back.
I am enjoying the ground work that we're doing. We're definitely building a friendship, and he's learning that he can trust me. I am also learning that I can trust him. He's careful not to hurt me, and I can already tell that he's not going to be a bolter. I am pretty sure that once we start doing some under saddle work, things are going to go smoothly.
Knock on wood, folks, knock on wood!
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%: