From Endurance to Dressage
Adjective: tempting and attractive, enticing.
I honestly can't believe I am saying this, but Second Level is really growing on me. It's not any easier than it was a week or so ago, but I can feel some really big AHA moments lurking in the wings.
Chemaine Hurtado, owner and trainer at Symphony Dressage Stables, is now coming to my barn once a week. Getting such regular lessons is helping me put the pieces together so much more quickly.
While we have plenty to work on, the simple change is the movement that I've been focused on. Chemaine has had me do a couple of exercises that are really helping.
First, transitions, transitions, transitions. I hear that all the time, of course, but understanding when and where and why to do them makes doing them a lot more productive. Speedy has the habit of being behind my leg. The simple change doesn't happen very prettily (or at all) when your horse is not engaging his hind end.
To fix this, Chemaine had me do walk/trot transitions, but during the walk phase, she had me gently tap with my whip to remind Speedy to keep his hind leg really marching. He hates the exercise of course, but it does get him moving.
We've then taken the exercise to the trot. We're doing lots and lots of transitions within the gait. Again, something I hear all the time, but now that I can see it working, I get why to do it. Speedy is slowly learning that it is his responsibility to keep pushing forward. All. The. Time.
When we're cantering, he needs to be sitting and pushing to make that 10-meter circle or simple change through walk. We've been really working on that. The new rule is that he doesn't ever get to pop his head up in the canter.
Through Intro to Training to First, I was always just happy to get a canter when and where I wanted it. Now, I can see that in order for him to carry more weight on his hind end, that first stride has to be correct. When he's "collected," the simple change is effortless.
Second Level is turning out to be a lot more interesting than I first thought. I can see how this level gives your horse a good foundation for what is to come. Speedy's a pretty talented little guy. I don't know if he can do the work after Fourth Level, or even the work at Fourth Level, but we're going to put a solid base on him right now so that if we ever make it that far, he'll be able to do it.
I am sorry I said you suck, Second Level. You might not be as bad as I first thought. Ask me again next week.
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%: