From Endurance to Dressage
After his small bowed tendon this past March, Speedy has returned to about 90% of his previous work load. We're doing 30 minute rides, but that involves a fair amount of walking. We finally started cantering last week, but I've only touched on a canter lengthening; we're still building strength.
Before his four month rest break, we had been tackling some of the movements and collection required at Second Level while trying to confirm other movements at First. The leg yield and trot lengthening were proving to be a bit of a challenge while his canter work was coming along nicely.
When I started riding him in the middle of July, we had to start from the beginning. I spent the first two weeks of the month just lunging at the walk and trot. Once I was sure that his leg was really and truly healed, I started riding again, albeit introducing the trot work very gradually.
My trainer, Chemaine Hurtado, suggested I spend at least one week at each level. That meant that if I wanted to tackle Second Level stuff again, I would need at least four weeks. I've kept that schedule in mind.
Riding only Izzy these past few months has given me quite a few new tools, one of which is the idea of how to ride the piaffe. I decided to apply that stronger half halt while riding Speedy and was rewarded with some of the most correct trot lengthenings he and I have yet had.
To get a lengthening on Speedy, Chemaine has had me really gather his stride on the short side and then straighten him as we make the corner. Rather than scream GO! out of the corner, she's encouraged me to start slow and then gradually lengthen Speedy's stride by thinking big, Bigger, BIGGEST.
In theory, that sounds like it all should work, but I wasn't really getting a lengthened stride. Sometimes I could, but usually, the stride was just quicker. I am happy to report that I am finally getting an actual longer stride.
To get it, I am now HALF HALTING more effectively while revving Speedy's engine on the short side. As we come through the corner, I am getting him straight and ready. Now when I lower my hands and think big, Bigger, BIGGEST, I can actually feel his withers come up and his hind legs launch us forward in a much bigger stride; it's not simply faster.
I know it doesn't look nearly as fabulous as it feels, but like everything else, once I get a sense of what it should feel like, it is so much easier to get it again.
We'll get a lesson in mid-September, and then I am shooting for a rated show at the end of October. We'll get to Second Level eventually. Right now, I am really glad to have my pony back. That dude is a whole lot of fun to ride.
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%: