From Endurance to Dressage
The other day I told you about the butt kicking of a lesson that we had a week ago. What I didn't tell you was that I had a major epiphany about the outside rein. There are only two reins. How is it that I still can't use them correctly?
When Speedy struggles with something, it is 99% of the time because I am doing something wrong. My aid is applied incorrectly, my seat is off balance, my timing is off, something. Everything. Anything. It's not you, it's me is a fact of life around here. Poor Speedy.
Somewhere amidst all of the you're doing it wrong but said in a very positive and constructive way, I heard Chemaine Hurtado, owner and trainer at Symphony Dressage Stables, say something about opening the outside rein to move his haunches. It was as though I'd been hit with a stupid stick. Huh? was all I could think to say.
I kid you not. I do not know how to use my outside rein. Since we started doing both trot and canter half passes, I have been pulling my outside rein straight back in an obviously feeble attempt to get Speedy to move his haunches over.
Apparently, if I were to simply open my outside rein instead of pulling it straight back, I would be able to draw Speedy's shoulders into the opening created by the rein which would have the effect of moving his shoulders over which would in turn allow him to move his haunches in. Palm to face moment right there, folks. Rider of the year.
Oh, and it works. I've been using the idea on both Izzy and Speedy this past week, and it is shocking how much easier it is to get the haunches to move when you open the outside rein. Try it. It really does work.
And while I was solving that problem, Chemaine offered me one more little tip. In the trot half pass, when Speedy is finally bent and my outside rein is open, and he still can't quite get it, think about piaffe. If he can't keep the forward, he has to stay in that box I've created and still work hard. Piaffe is harder than just going forward. Even though it's not actually a piaffe, just by me thinking piaffe he has to work harder than if he just went forward.
So the next time you're opening your outside rein to move the haunches, try thinking about piaffe, too. Who knows how many problems you'll be able to solve? My ineptitude is your gain. You're welcome.
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%: