From Endurance to Dressage
This should really be just a lesson recap, but at the end of Sunday's lesson it was decided that I should do an upcoming February show instead of the later March show. All of a sudden I am in show prep mode.
A few days ago, I was tagged by a Facebook friend when she shared a video of an amazing horse. If you can, watch it really quick; it's worth it. If you can't see it, it's a two minute video of a stallion riding shoulder in to half pass and then extended trot. Not just riding it, but killing it. Oh, to ride that just once.
After watching that video, I swear I rode better. And if I didn't actually ride better, I at least rode with a better idea of what I was trying to achieve. During my lesson a few weeks ago, Chemaine Hurtado, owner and trainer at Symphony Dressage Stables told me to start the half pass with a shoulder in. She's been saying that for the better part of a year, but I finally stopped Speedy in his tracks and asked, "You mean a literal shoulder in? Not think shoulder in?"
I could feel her eyes rolling in her head. "YES!" she maybe, sort of shouted. From that moment on, our half pass has done nothing but improve. For so long I've been trying to ride a shoulder in while still in the corner rather than as we come out of the corner. By maintaining the bend through the corner and then riding a shoulder in just past K or F before beginning the half pass, I've been able to position Speedy's body in such a way that I have better control over his haunches. Sometimes I am amazed at how stupid I am.
So on Sunday, when Chemaine watched our half passes, I could hear her shouting gleefully, "Now THAT's what I am talking about! You have a half pass!"
She said that would happen. She swore that eventually it would click for Speedy, and obviously for me too and then suddenly, he'd start working like a Third Level horse. We're finally at that point.
To build on the concept of riding the half pass from a shoulder in, Chemaine had me ride a shoulder in to a half pass, and the second he leaned on my inside leg, immediately back to a shoulder in. Part of the problem has been that I am swapping the shoulders in for the haunches in which is most definitely not how a half pass should be ridden. I need his shoulders and his haunches to stay bent around my inside leg.
We have a week until our next show. There's not much I can dramatically improve on between now and then, but you can bet I am going to be riding that shoulder in to half pass like crazy.
Tomorrow, a flying change exercise that might give you a headache, but boy was it ever effective!
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%: