From Endurance to Dressage
When Chemaine Hurtado, owner and trainer at Symphony Dressage Stables, came out for a lesson on Sunday, I was just expecting to keep chipping away at the movements we struggle with at Third Level, namely the half passes. Along with that though, Chemaine challenged us in the canter with a new exercise to soften our flying lead changes.
Speedy struggles with the right lead canter more than with the left. It probably has a lot to do with the fact that he wants to fall in on his right shoulder and swing his haunches out. When he does that, he doesn't have to cary so much weight behind. Chemaine has really hammered it home that he has to be in self-carriage all of the time. And now that I know that, I am insisting on it.
While we struggle with the trot half pass, we also struggle with the canter half pass, particularly to the right. Until Speedy is fully willing to carry himself, the work done in the canter - the half passes and the flying changes, will be harder for both of us. Fortunately for me, Chemaine always has a new exercise up her sleeve.
To help Speedy sit down in the canter so that I can prepare for the half passes and flying changes, she had us do a brand new exercise. Be prepared for your brain to hurt a bit.
This exercise could probably be used for a lot of different things, but what Chemaine was helping me do was get control after the flying change. Speedy loves to bolt forward after the change in a big yeehaw moment. After using some big half halts in those corners to really rock him back on his end, he quit pulling some much after the changes. I am surprised you can't really see it on the video, but I was using what felt like big, powerful half halts to get him rocked back off my hands.
So instead of a keep working on it post lesson chat, we were suddenly talking about a USDF show next weekend. in some ways, going way sooner than I had planned makes it easier because I have a lot less time to worry about it.
And really, it's not like we're starting a new level, we showed Third last year, it's just that I am desperate to get that one last score ...
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%: