From Endurance to Dressage
Yesterday I mentioned that I used last summer to get Izzy used to going places. This summer has been about going places and working. We've been to several schooling shows, trailered down to Moorpark for lessons, and even moved barns. I knew that moving would ratchet up his tension level. I was right.
The first day that I rode after moving my boys to the new place, they screamed at each other for 30 solid minutes without pause. I rode Izzy for nearly an hour because I did not want him to think that screaming earned him a respite.
The next day was better, but Pacific Gas & Electric had sent out tree trimmers to clear the tree tops from the power lines so Izzy's tension level remained high. I rode anyway. By Sunday, the screaming was essentially over, and Izzy stood tied with his head hanging on the ground and a hind leg cocked.
I have a lesson today with Chemaine Hurtado, and I am so looking forward to it. I know that Izzy is making progress, but I definitely need to check in with Chemaine to make sure I am still on the right track. I can now ride him wherever I want in the arena without worrying about any bolting or spooking, but unless I get really tough on him, he is emphatically refusing to soften his neck and accept the contact.
We hadn't even tried cantering for the past few weeks as I was trying to get ready for the last schooling show and then we moved. On Sunday, I asked for the canter and had to work though a TON of resistance. He only wants to gallop with his head sky high. I eventually got a softish canter on both leads, but I am getting weary of the same discussion week after week. I am hoping Chemaine can pull yet another rabbit out of her hat. She always has excellent exercises to help me communicate better with him. Let's hope her magic is working today.
In Speedy news, we finally started cantering! The first day was just about picking up the canter for one circle each direction, but the next day I worked on changes of lead through trot and a bit of counter canter. All of my recent work with Izzy has helped me develop a MUCH better feel for the canter transition. Right away I was able to keep Speedy much softer through the transition than I had the last time we cantered in the spring. I could have worked on the canter all morning, but prudence reined its head, and I kept the work to a few minutes only.
I am really enjoying my new barn, and I know the horses are just as happy. Sometimes a change is more needed than we know.
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%: