From Endurance to Dressage
Speedy and I are going to our third show of the season on Sunday. It will be our third attempt at Second Level. It's a CDS-rated show so the atmosphere will be a little more relaxed, but the judging will still be tough.
While I don't feel like we have Second Level down pat, I do feel more confident than I did in March. Since I hate Second Level Test 2, I've decided to jump right into Test 3. It's the one I'll have to ride at RAAC anyway, so I might as well get some practice in now.
Both Speedy and I have had some big AHAs over the past few weeks. I've shared mine, but last weekend, I realized that Speedy has had at least one too. All of a sudden, he has clued in that nearly all of our downward transitions from canter are now to the walk. Even when I am okay with a (lazy) canter to trot because he just did something really well, he's still sitting hard and walking. Good boy!
The AHA that I desperately need him to have like RIGHT NOW is that he can carry his haunches to both the left and the right WHILE TROTTING. Holy heck is he being stubborn about this. I get that it's challenging, but please, horse, just try!
To his credit, he gets it at the walk. He now knows that he can maintain the inside bend AND carry his haunches in. He's getting much lighter in my hand and willing to flex his neck. Now I just need him to do it while trotting. I haven't yet told him about the fact that (eventually) he'll need to also do it at the canter. Palm to forehead.
It took us a month or so, but we have a three-loop serpentine. I don't know how good it is, but it rides pretty well. Just this past weekend I really worked on collecting him for the counter canter while letting him move out more for the true canter. Playing around with transitions within the gait seemed to really help him balance.
Maybe the best thing we've got going is that Speedy's collected trot is showing a lot more uphill tendency with tons more thrust. His poll is up, and he's really moving well. Unfortunately, he's stuck with a rider who is still struggling to sit his more expressive trot. Oh, and that's me in case you were wondering.
Second Level doesn't scare me anymore. In fact, it's turning out to be a lot of fun. Stringing all of the movements together so they look harmonious is our struggle now. Schooling at home with do-over after do-over is nothing like showing. In front of the judge, you get one shot.
Good thing I am good at moving on from mistakes! Next movement, please.
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%: