From Endurance to Dressage
According to my trainer, I have now earned the right to work the inside rein when tracking right. I know that sounds stupid, but it is a huge deal. She also announced that it is because I now have an established outside, left rein, and I know how to use it.
So what does all of this mean and why should anyone care? Well, really, no one besides Sydney and I probably care, but what it means is that we are starting to really get this ball rolling.
My number one goal for this summer has been to get a consistent, right lead canter departure. I can check that off my list. I've moved on to maintain a consistently, round and balanced right lead canter. We're rock solid to the left so that was never even a factor in my whole goal-setting agenda. To the right, we are not quite there, but we are looking mighty fine.
I've been writing about this "chute" exercise. I circle at "A" on a right lead canter (not really as we don't have a dressage court, but you get the idea), and then canter down the long side which is a narrow chute between the fence and the jumps. At Monday's lesson, we cantered it on the right lead without any drama. Can you see me raising the roof?
Sydney is really crooked to the right. To the left, he's balanced and forgiving of my own imbalances. But to the right, I have to do the work for both of us. What JL has been able to do is teach me how to balance Sydney so that he can feel confident and safe in the right lead canter.
The first step is to get his haunches behind his shoulders and his nose on the rail. This feels horribly wrong and crooked, but it has become my new normal. JL assures me that when I ride him this way, he is actually quite straight. Once he is "straight," I can then work the inside rein for some bend and flexion. JL points out that to the right, I have to actually ride outside leg to inside hand. Very non-traditional, I know, but it works.
As long as he is straight, I can ask almost anything of him, and he is happy to try. In order to come out of a turn and canter the long side on the right lead, I have to:
The greatest part to all of this is that Sydney is still a difficult horse to ride. He's reactive, a bit spooky, and wants to bolt, but now that I can keep him between my aids, his moments of anxiety are getting shorter and shorter and are over with as soon as I sit back and give a strong half halt. I no longer have any Oh, sh*t! moments (although I am sure that I just jinxed myself).
I am so excited by what we're doing together. There is a schooling show in two weeks, and I am really hoping that we can go. There are still some questions about trainer availability, show location, and over-nighting that I have to clear up first, but if all of that works out, Sydney and I are primed to actually put together a decent dressage test.
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%: