From Endurance to Dressage
Speedy and I are firmly committed to showing Second Level this March. We were going to make the leap in October, but he sliced open his hoof a month before the show. So here we are, three months later, now looking at a spring debut.
One of the last times Speedy was laid up - it happens at least once a year, Chemaine Hurtado, owner and trainer of Symphony Dressage Stables, recommended taking one week per level as a comeback strategy. So, if we want to be schooling Second level like we were in September, Speedy would need three to four weeks to fully leg up.
I don't think Speedy got that particular memo. The first day I rode him, we mostly walked. I was still not fully recovered from my month-long bout of bronchitis, and he hadn't had a rider on his back for three months. It seemed a good way to start.
The next ride involved more trotting. By the third ride, we were doing all three gaits. I kept it in my mind that he wasn't as fit as he was three months ago, but he didn't seem to remember that.
While Speedy's hoof was growing out, he remained on his regular turnout schedule which means that he was out all night. Fortunately for me, Speedy is a busy boy which means he kept himself relatively fit over the fall. He wasn't working the collected canter of course, but he moved around enough to maintain at least a degree of fitness.
Even though I know he needs time to increase his strength and fitness, we're already schooling the movements from Second Level, Test 1. I know I say this all the time, but this horse is amazing. He has picked up exactly where he left off.
Over the weekend, I reminded Speedy about the rein back - he thinks those are pretty easy, and we reviewed the turn on the haunches. I think they're scorable, but we need a judge's opinion for sure. We also started re-schooling the walk to canter - definitely better than it ever has been, and the canter to walk. I have to give Speedy props; even after three months off he has been willing to dig deep and go for the downward transition.
On Christmas morning, he actually gave me a really crisp canter to walk followed almost immediately by a walk to canter on the new lead! We were struggling with it three months ago, so I don't know where that came from.
The things we really need to work on over the next two months include the movement where you do a shoulder in right to a right turn followed by a left turn into shoulder in left. He wants to hang on that left rein, so I can't get the new bend in preparation for the left turn and the shoulder in left.
The other issue, and this one really plagued us last summer during those hot show days, is that it is really hard to keep Speedy going at the collected canter. If I take my leg off for an instant, he either comes down to a trot or he anticipates a canter to walk transition. He definitely needs a lesson in keep going until I say otherwise. Also known as USE THE WHIP!
We don't have a lesson scheduled as of right now, but Chemaine's schedule is about to change in a big way, so I think we might soon be getting as many as two or three lessons a month.
Believe me, we need it!
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%: