From Endurance to Dressage
I've had a couple of kicked my butt weeks. The switch from having the summer off to going back to work full time is always a bitter pill to swallow. It's not that I don't like working, I do. Teaching is very rewarding - usually. It's the fact that August and September afternoons are still flipping hot, 100 degrees hot, and I just can't do that to myself or my boys. After not having ridden mid-week for two straight weeks though, Friday's heat was finally tolerable enough to ride.
Somewhere along the way, Izzy has grown up. I think it happened last March. Of course, once fall and winter hit, I expect some of his jackassery to return, but until then, I am having the most rewarding rides.
As I continue up the levels with Speedy, I occasionally think of the adage show a level below what you school. I've always found that idea to be arrogant. If I knew how to do the movements above where we are, I'd be schooling them. But since I am learning right along with Speedy, we show right where we are schooling.
It's different with Izzy. Now I know what a leg yield should feel like. The same for a shoulder in. I know how much bend I should look for in the half pass, and I know that a change of lead through trot is setting him up for flying changes. As I was schooling him on Friday afternoon, I laughed when I realized that the only "movement" from training level that we were schooling was the stretchy trot. I now finish my rides on both boys with long and deep stretches.
Since it was 100 degrees, I kept the ride pretty short. We did a quick walking warm up, focusing on being really round and deep with lateral flexion. From there, we did a few 20-meter trot circles with changes of bend across the diagonal. I also asked him to lengthen his stride. We did a few leg yields followed by some trot half pass to get a change of direction. That took care of the trot work.
I followed the trot work up with a few trot to canter transitions and then did some changes of lead through trot. Next was the canter half pass to check on his suppleness. And since we don't have a flying change yet, I rode the counter canter along the short side and then did a few more changes of lead through trot.
So now, I can actually show several levels below what we school. Our 21-minute ride had movements from First, Second, and Third Levels. It's a lot easier when you already "know" what you're doing.
Here are a few clips of what we worked on over the weekend.
Oh, I forgot to mention that we went to another show on Sunday! More on that tomorrow.
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%: