From Endurance to Dressage
With quality in mind, I saddled Speedy for our Sunday ride. Now that school has resumed and I have to go to work every weekday morning, my weekend rides have to really count. This sometimes sets me up for failure as I often put a lot of pressure on those two rides. Other times I revel in the luxury of having two days to ride both horses; this was one of those weekends.
Speedy tried all of his usual things; fussing to the right, serious head tilt, stiff when tracking left, and so on. Rather than get upset, I just narrowed my focus and tried to get the very best I could from each stride.
Tracking left is becoming a bit of an issue. He is just so dang stiff that direction. (I am wondering if he needs another adjustment by the chiropractor; I need to think about that.) In an effort to get some softness on that left rein, we did more counter canter. I was pretty happy with the result, bone jarring as it was. We did a 20-meter circle on the left lead, crossed the diagonal, and did a full 20-meter counter canter circle at the other end of the arena without losing the canter. And we did it more than once.
It wasn't perfect, but I've only been able to do that exercise ... never. I did manage some counter canter half circles with Christian Schacht in June, but we did a full circle this weekend. And I could feel Speedy's relief when we were back on the correct bend. It helped him see that some bend is a good thing.
I had much better luck with our right lead canter. I decided to just work on adjusting his trot work to the right by shortening and lengthening his stride with my seat. He shortened his stride quite easily; when I asked for a bigger stride, he kept breaking into the canter. I decided that I needed to be much quieter with my legs as I asked for the longer stride, but it also gave me some information about getting a better canter transition.
Once his trot work was pretty adjustable, I went ahead and asked for the right lead canter. Usually, I sit and then ask with an inside leg at the girth and the outside leg just behind the girth. This time, I simply sat lightly and thought canter ... and was rewarded with a much softer transition. We made a few circles and did a few trot to canter transitions.
Focusing on quality makes it easy to be pleased with the 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
*** SCEC 10/15-16/22
2022 Completed …
(*) Tehachapi 5/22/22
(*) Tehachapi 7/24/22
(***) Tehachapi 8/28/22
2023 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
Qualifying Training Level
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%:
Score 1: 62.115%