From Endurance to Dressage
HAHAHAHAHA. Wouldn't it be nice, and a lot simpler, to be able to identify and work on problem number one? Problem numero uno is that most of the time,I have no idea what I am doing which means there are actually five trillion problems. But for the sake of time, let's just talk about one of them. It's probably number 456, but who's counting?
Even though last week was a complete shit show (weather, smoke, work), I actually managed at least four solid rides on Izzy. I sincerely apologize for the language, but if it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it's probably a duck. I worked on different things over the week keeping in mind that we're preparing for a show at Second Level. The two biggies are the medium trot and getting tidy simple changes. Those things are coming along, but on Saturday, something new cropped up.
The walk pirouette has been a challenge for Izzy because he feels vey trapped in the movement. He has had a difficult time understanding that no, he isn't supposed to walk forward. In the beginning, this caused a lot of balking. He figured if forward was the wrong answer, simply stopping must be the right answer. No, I had to tell him, there is a door number three.
At our last lesson, Chemaine Hurtado, owner and trainer at Symphony Dressage Stables, had me increase the size of the pirouette circle when Izzy starts to feel trapped or stuck. My response when he gets stuck is to let him walk forward out of it, but Chemaine explained that letting him walk forward only teaches him how to get out of the exercise whereas in making the circle bigger, he still has to keep the bend and keep his hind legs engaged.
On Saturday, Izzy decided that not only could he not turn on his haunches to the left in a walk pirouette, but he also couldn't do it on a bigger circle. In fact, he made it quite clear that moving his haunches to the left was something he could no longer do. What the hell, buddy? So of course lots of pony club kicking ensued. Rather than just give in, I applied Chemaine's advice and made the circle as large as I needed to show him that he could step over with his outside hind leg. Instead of a circle I did haunches in down the long side and then moved to haunches in across the diagonal. To the right, his walk pirouette is quite lovely, so we even did a few of those so he could feel successful.
By the end of the ride, he gave me a couple of decent strides to the left, so we called it quits. He is trying so hard right now that I never want to shake his confidence. Any time I can reward him for his effort, I do. His jackassery may return once the weather turns cooler, but for now, his "refusals" are so mild that I am taking the opportunity to work through them in a way that doesn't make him feel like they're a big deal. This horse is just so much fun to ride that even when we do have a problem, I don't mind working through it.
October's show will be here before I know it, and I am already looking forward to it!
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%: