From Endurance to Dressage
Show Prep ...
This is not what I had intended for today's post. If you want to read that, scroll down and find the read more link and you can see what I was about to complain about. Instead, I want to, no, I NEED to write about Friday's ride. In short? It was AWESOME!!!!!!!
With a show on Sunday and this horrible heat, I decided to get to the barn early and just hit the trail. We haven't left the barn in at least five weeks (EHV-1/vacation), so I was eager to do something besides ride in the arena.
Going back a bit ... dear friend Taz's mom, who looked after Speedy while I was on vacation, had nothing but wonderful things to say about Speedy when I got home. She was so impressed with how friendly and polite he was and how willing to do whatever was asked of him. She's known him since day 1, and frankly, he was a bit of a stinker as a three and four-year-old. Even during his five and six-year-old years he was known to pull a few naughty tricks. But now, as a blooming seven-year-old, he appears to have turned into a right nice fellow.
So as I headed out onto the trail, I kept her words in my mind and realized that I am no longer riding that undependable four-year-old. I quit worrying that he was going to fall down or flip out. A few cars roared by which in the past would have sent him straight up into the air. He flicked an eye and stiffened his neck a bit, but onward and forward he went. The only thing he had real reason to freak out about, which he didn't, was a LARGE, YELLOW school bus that pulled up behind us pretty quietly and released its air brakes. That would scare ANY seasoned pony. Speedy did stop, tense his whole body, and step quickly away, but he did it with control. I was so proud of him!
That's all real nice, but it's not even what I wanted to write about. What I want to scream and shout and dance about is that on the way home, while Speedy was moving very nicely forward, we had some of the absolutely best strides of back to front connection that we have yet managed. I felt his back come up under me, my legs turned into melted ice cream as I gently hugged his barrel, I felt the most wonderful connection from the bit to my hands, and I RODE MY HORSE WITH MY SEAT! Can I get an AMEN sister?!
With wrapping up the school year, losing Kirby, the arrival and subsequent departure of EHV-1, and going to Europe for two weeks, show season had kind of come to a halt for Speedy G and me. But, we're ready to get back in the game. Our third show of the season is this Sunday. My ride times are 9:15 and 9:38.
Am I ready? Nope. And by ready I don't mean is my tack clean and the horse braided. I gassed up the truck Friday and I'll give my tack a quick clean up in the afternoon. My clothes are always cleaned and ready in their plastic tub along with my show pad, boots, and velvet helmet. That's not what I mean by ready, either.
By ready, what I mean is am I prepared to show a well-schooled horse to a judge with the knowledge that he can perform the movements on cue and correctly. It is so frustrating to be at Introductory Level and STILL not feel prepared. I know that my seat has improved tremendously and my hands are getting steadier. And I know we are better than last summer, but we still can't ride the Introductory tests consistently. If Speedy feels good, he does great. If he's feeling "pissy," he fusses with the bit and resists.
My goals for Sunday are this:
If I do these things, I can keep Speedy moving forward nicely, he will be less resistant, and our figures will be more accurate.
And, if we can get the canter departure without bucking, we'll be in good shape!
7/10/2011 01:33:29 am
It's so good to read about someone who's combining trails and dressage. I just moved my dressage horse to a farm where there are no rings. Our only options are the tall grass field with rolling hills, or the wooded trails. I really believe my mare needs the mental break from the ring, but I've been so agitated about not knowing how to continue our dressage training. I have noticed, in the week I've been here, that my mare seems more relaxed and happy.
7/10/2011 07:10:20 am
Mia - thank you so much for writing! I love to hear from people around the country. We all just assume that the way we do it is the right and only way. Through the blog I've "met" people from all parts of the country and am always curious to know what it's like where they live.
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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%: