From Endurance to Dressage
Part 1 - Leg Yield to Half Pass
Now that the holidays are past us, Chemaine Hurtado, owner and trainer at Symphony Dressage Stables, has been able to come out weekly again. After analyzing what we need at the bare minimum for Third Level, Chemaine agreed that tackling the lateral work was the game plan for the foreseeable future.
Speedy has never been a fan of moving his haunches to the side AND stepping forward. I get it; it's hard. Even so, he has to learn. To present it in a way that he could understand and that I could enforce, Chemaine had us start the half pass in a leg yield. She also had me move the whip to the outside hand every time we changed direction. See the part about enforcing.
Chemaine had us begin at the walk. We started in the corner From A to K where we prepared for a leg yield right. The purpose was to get the haunches leading which is not how you'd typically ride a leg yield. This does two things. First, it gets your horse moving off your outside leg, and it allows you to set up the haunches for the half pass. By getting the haunches to lead, they will ultimately be in the correct position as you change the bend for the half pass.
Once Speedy's haunches were leading, I changed the bend. I had to keep my outside leg on and ask for forward with the inside leg. Chemaine had to remind me numerous times to keep the inside leg on. I always want to pull it off thinking I am giving him space into which to move. This is wrong. Don't do that. It's important to keep the inside leg on and use both legs to ask for forward. Anytime I lost the haunches or when Speedy got too heavy on the outside rein, I changed the bend and turned it back into a leg yield.
After we crossed the diagonal (I was always short as my arena is really wide), we then turned left and did the same thing through the corner at C and H. I had to remember to change the whip, and then we did a leg yield H to F, changing to half pass once I had Speedy's haunches leading.
Once Speedy and I had it mostly figured out, we moved to the trot and started the half pass without doing the leg yield first. To help me set it up correctly - after I had started it as a hot mess, Chemaine reminded me to ride into the corner thinking shoulder in. This put Speedy on the outside rein so that I could then use the rein to send his haunches over. I'll let Chemaine explain it better:
We definitely made a ton of improvement with her nuts and bolts explanation, but we clearly need more practice. That's okay as I have plenty of time for that. Here's one more go at the trot half pass:
Chemaine is definitely able to get Speedy and me to places that I never thought possible. We're no Grand Prix pair (yet), but this horse has really developed into a fancy little mover. Check out this medium trot. He actually has a moment of suspension!
After I felt like I had my homework for the trot half pass figured out, we worked on canter half pass to the flying change. I'll try to get to that tomorrow.
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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%: