From Endurance to Dressage
Here's the video from Day 1; it's really short.
The biggest thing I got out of the two lessons was this: steady contact means no moments of emptiness. When I ride Speedy, he isn't steady and neither am I. While I have felt moments of a steady connection, we just haven't been able to maintain it. Luke never bobbles; he's steady and maintains a constant rhythm. I was finally able to really feel a steady contact that didn't include those empty moments. I had a gigantic AHA moment.
I also got to see how important a stable core is and how lengthening my spine will achieve that. Since Luke isn't really going anywhere, Barbro was able to stand beside me at both the trot and canter with her hands on my lower back and belly. She helped stabilize me so that I could develop a sense of what a stabilized core felt like.
And then there were my elbows. While I have improved, there was still much work to be done. I now bend them, but up until this weekend, I haven't really allowed them to move. Barbro helped me with that, too. Again, by standing beside me at the trot and canter, she moved my elbows for me so that I could feel when Luke's "legs" were moving.
The final thing Barbro helped me address was the stiffness in my right wrist. I can't say that we fixed it, but she certainly brought it to my attention. The way to fix it is to move from the elbow and not the wrist. She had me think of steering and half halting with my elbow instead of my hand. This was a new idea for me. I didn't know you could steer with your elbow!
We left the Ventura area and headed for home right after lunch. My eye was on the dashboard clock the whole way home. If we could be home by 3:30, I would be able to ride Speedy G and test out some of what I had learned. Hubby knew I was on a schedule and once again humored me. He was great all weekend: dropping me off at the clinic while he drove around aimlessly killing time. For the second day he simply sat in the truck waiting for me to finish. It was no surprise to him that I wanted to ride my own horse even after two days of a clinic. He's a really great guy!
We made it home in time for me to ride Speedy G. And frankly, it was one of the best rides we've ever had. I was euphoric! And even better, I had a lesson the next day, but more on that later.
Riding Luke isn't cheap, but it's no more expensive than a lesson with a more well-known instructor. My 45-minute lesson was $90 ($180 for both days). You don't have to be in a clinic to ride, either. Barbro can schedule a lesson for just one rider. Luke is in her office at Spirit Equestrian, and he is always fit and ready to work; she simply plugs him in. Barbro can also travel with Luke to your barn for a minimum of 12 rides. For more information visit her website, Always a Good Ride.
I can't wait to go and do it again!
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%: