From Endurance to Dressage
I love the opinions shared about yesterday's post, and I have more to say, but I just have to post about yesterday's ride first. Warm-up shenanigans can wait one more day. That talking point isn't going anywhere!
It rained cats and dogs yesterday (over half an inch which is HUGE for this part of California) so working in the arena just wasn't gonna happen. Eyeballing the black sky, I saddled Speedy G up for a hack around the neighborhood. He was a jerk from the git-go: a P.I.T.A. while bridling (How many times have I used this bit? A lot buster - open up!), while tightening the girth (it is NOT too tight!), and while mounting (get back here!). I knew that a quick ride might be a disaster in the making, and it really wouldn't be Speedy's fault. The weather was questionable, and the route was slick black top with extremely muddy shoulders.
I threw caution to the wind and headed out anyway. Speedy will be eight years old in two days and is approaching the status of d-e-p-e-n-d-a-b-l-e. He behaved as expected. The entire time he had his tail over his back and he jigged and bounced and snorted at every perceived it's gonna eat me, Mom! sound. I did lots of sit-back-hards to stop his building momentum, but tried to give him the rein when he relaxed. Yeah, he was wiggly, but we were communicating.
And then it happened ...
Now I know what walk, trot, and canter feel like. I know what an extended trot looks like, and I can get a wee bit of extension from Speedy when he's really working well. I know what a piaffe looks like and have seen Speedy execute that particular movement many times in hand. So when I tell you what he did, I KNOW you're going to pphhttt!!! me. No way, he didn't do it. You just aren't in the know.
In the know or not, I know what Speedy G volunteered, and it was the most awesome PASSAGE ever! WHAT?!?!? Yup. Passage. Paaaa - ssss - aaaaaa -ge! It was FAB-U-LOUS! I know I didn't ask for it, and I have no way to repeat the movement, but I don't care. It was like we were trotting on a trampoline. That's the only way I can describe it.
I felt Speedy coil himself up and I KNEW that if I asked for a halt, he was going to explode. Instead, I just sat deep and asked for forward. I felt the reins go slack and suddenly we were bouncing forward. On black top. With no pounding. I burst out laughing and urged him on. Go, Speedy, go! It lasted for at least six strides before he fell into a jiggy trot, but during those half a dozen strides, I laughed out loud with glee and let him carry us both down that road. It was the most incredible feeling I have ever experienced on horseback.
Thanks, rainy day, I owe you one!
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%: