From Endurance to Dressage
If this past week is an indicator of how Izzy's training is going to progress, I am all smiles. This baby is sweet as pie. He doesn't know a whole lot, but he's trying very hard to figure out what is expected of him. He doesn't quite get that I am the ultimate boss, but it's not going to take him long to figure it out.
For the past week, we've followed a consistent routine of time in the cross ties (either for bandaging or grooming), a short walk around the barn area, and then time in the stall/paddock alone without Speedy close by. And while I adore a routine and know that my horses thrive on it, I have changed up the order of how those three things get done. Sometimes Speedy goes out first, sometimes Izzy.
What I am asking of Izzy is always the same. I just want him to become familiar with the rhythm of our barn. He needs to be able to do the most basic of things: come to me when I go into his stall, stand patiently while I groom or doctor him, lift his feet when asked, follow quietly on the lead line, and be okay when one of his neighbors leaves the barn.
To teach him that Speedy will come back, I've either ridden him in the arena or taken him for a walk out of sight. Each day, Izzy has gained confidence and was less stressed about Speedy leaving. On Thursday, I rode Speedy around the neighborhood. Izzy didn't even call to us until we had left the driveway. I watched my watch carefully; we were gone for eighteen minutes. Izzy called for us about every minute and a half, but the whinnies were more "whiny" in nature as opposed to full-bodied cries of panic.
When we got back, he was dry (no nervous sweat), and gave a sassy buck when Speedy was back in the barn. It was the first confident thing Izzy has done since his arrival. And it was definitely sassy. He shook his head and gave a little squeal at the same time. I was actually delighted at his show of spunk. It was quite a cute little demonstration, and he actually looked proud of himself.
Since he was feeling so cheeky, I decided that he was ready for a longer walk. I took him to the far end of the property, which is only about 100 yards away. This was the first time that he couldn't see the barn which made him nervous.
We walked very slowly, partly because of his leg, but I also wanted him to really think about what was happening. He wanted to crowd me a bit or dart around me, but I insisted he stay behind me, or at least at my shoulder. By the second lap around, his confidence was beginning to grow. He began to lower his head to the ground looking for grass to eat, and his stride got a bit bigger.
On our last lap around, I stopped at my trailer and sat on the wheel well. Izzy's head went sky high and he was blowing rather noisily at being asked to stand so close to the trailer, but he accepted the situation and finally started looking at me and placed his face in my lap for a scratch.
Izzy is definitely a thinker and a pleaser. He wants to do the right thing. When he doesn't know what that is, he tries his version of an answer (which so far hasn't been too off the mark). When I show him the right choice, he's quite happy to go along with my suggestion. I've yet to find a resistance. Well, not lowering that hind leg when I am wrapping it or picking out that hoof out might count as resisting, but I am cutting him some slack in that department. And even so, I am getting the leg wrapped quickly with very little fuss.
It occurred to me the other day that I already dig this horse. Being a bit "busted up" hasn't dampened my enthusiasm one bit. If anything, I think it has helped because it has forced us to have a much more intimate relationship than we might have had otherwise this early on.
I am really looking forward to this weekend. I'll finally get to visit with Izzy in the daylight, ride Speedy more thoroughly, and work with Austin as well. I went from two horses, to one horse, to three! I think my pot is filled to overflowing!
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%