From Endurance to Dressage
I read a lot of dressage blogs. And it's actually quite interesting to note that everyone blogs about the same stuff. It's either, had a lovely, balanced ride and got the canter transition on cue, or had a terrible ride today with a horse that was heavy in my hand. I usually have to search around on the blog to find out what kind of rider is doing the writing. In all honesty, it can be quite difficult to tell from reading how knowledgable the rider actually is. Good writers might not actually be good riders.
I make every effort to be forthcoming about my actual level of riding, and in case you're not sure, I am currently showing USDF Introductory Level and attempting to school Training Level. A simple search shows that there are fewer upper level riders out there. Given the vast number of blogs, this means that either every blogger is a pro, or the majority of riders are actually near where I am. This is not surprising since it's difficult to be the best, and few make it that far. I have run several 5Ks and a six miler, but a marathon runner I am not. So when I post something like Riding on a Cloud, take it with a grain of salt.
And with that ...
Speedy G gave me some awesome moments while schooling on Sunday. It took a while to get them. We spent a solid thirty minutes tracking left. He fussed the entire time. He just doesn't trust the contact and insists that I be as light as possible. He is extremely difficult to ride because you can't balance on his mouth ... which is a good thing! He forces me to balance myself as I am helping him to balance. Not an easy task. It's all about breathing and relaxing and finessing the rein. If I am heavy, he braces and resists. If I am too soft, he takes advantage. In order for him to be really soft and connected, my contact needs to be as light as if I am riding with reins made of thread. When we get it, wow!
After a half hour of fussiness, we walked and moved on to the right side circle. Instant connection, balance, and softness. I cued for the canter ... a bit of a hop, but then we were on the cloud. For any horse, at any level, it would have been considered a very lovely canter. He was round and utterly balanced. I let the reins go just slightly and yep, he was carrying himself. I didn't want to stop, but his reward is always a rest for getting the answer right. I circled once or twice, took a long deep breath and sat just a bit. He softly came back into a balanced trot and we slowed to a walk. Wow.
Hoping to capitalize on his correct work, we returned to the left. He still fussed and slightly resisted the left bend, but it was much improved. I cued for the canter and he offered a somewhat better transition. It took him a few strides to collect himself, but we did get some nice, balanced strides of canter. Not as nice as when we tracked right, but still acceptable. The downward transition was balanced, yeah for him, and we finished with some stretchy trot strides.
And of course, he got lots of Good Boys! He loves to hear when he's done it right. He gives a big sigh, and he gets a very mellow look on his face. Goof ball!
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%: