From Endurance to Dressage
I've already mailed in my entry for the HDEC Schooling Show that is on Sunday. Sydney will be making the journey instead of Speedy. Have no fear Speedy fans; Speedy will be doing the two-day USDF show at El Sueno the following weekend.
I've had to think long and hard about how to prepare Sydney for his second showing debut. Nothing good happened at the first debut so I am giving him another chance at a more sparkly entrance into the dressage showing world.
He is now quite happy and relaxed at home and willing to go wherever I send him. His left lead canter is awesome and his right lead canter is not far behind. He is quite happy with a nice, steady contact, but we do need to work on shortening his neck. For Intro and Training Level 1, his level of contact is just fine. He can maintain the trot and canter in the twenty-meter circle, although maintaining the trot at the half circle when tracking right or left at C takes some encouragement and a lot of leg. The same is true as we come up the centerline.
Overall, he is happily demonstrating the requirements of an early Training Level horse. At home. Away from home? I have no idea what I am going to get. The only way to know is to go somewhere else and give it a try.
I never ride through the complete tests with Speedy. Instead, I ride pieces of the test and connect them with other pieces. Speedy is so smart that it wouldn't take him long to figure the tests out on his own while simultaneously working on a plan to foil my best efforts. Sydney's mind doesn't work that way. He wants me to be the leader and is quite happy to follow along with whatever I suggest as long as I genuinely seem to know what I am doing.
In an effort to build Sydney's confidence, and to some extent my own as well, I've started riding the Intro C test from start to finish, but I am doing the whole thing at the trot. My thinking is this: Sydney will be used to working the whole arena at the trot; I will be more familiar with the test; Sydney will be confident that I know where we're going; and I am finding his sticky places.
After I run through the test at the trot, I pick up the canter where we'll need to do it for Intro C, but I canter the circle several times to help balance, and then I turn it into the canter circle for Training Level Test 1 where we do a half circle at E and B.
I don't know if this is a good test prep strategy or not. I don't think it will hurt though as I am feeling better and better prepared. I know for certain that if I feel confident and prepared, it will help Sydney to trust me. If he can keep his focus on me, he'll do just fine.
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%: