From Endurance to Dressage
Speedy is getting ready for his next show. I think he's starting to question my idea of retirement though. The way I look at retirement is this: when the day comes for me to retire, I'll still be busy and active, I just won't be going to work every day. Speedy is staying busy and active, and while he is "working," it's nowhere near as hard as when we were moving up the levels. I guess he's really semi-retired as he does have a part time job.
Since he'll be doing a show at the end of the month, and since he hadn't been ridden in the past few weeks - a short, bareback hack around STC Dressage doesn't really count, I decided to actually do a schooling ride on him before "J" came down on Friday. The first thing I thought was, Houston, we have a problem. Oh, my ...
I hadn't been on Speedy in a dressage saddle in months. I've hopped on him bareback now and then for a quick hack around the neighborhood. I've also done a flying change or two while bareback and riding in a halter. What I hadn't done was ridden him to check his suppleness and willingness to sit and carry a bit more weight behind. Let's just say his desire to sit and push was pretty nonexistent.
Since he doesn't want to sit, his balance is tipped forward making him pretty heavy on his forehand. I desperately wanted to "fix" that, but I resisted knowing that his reluctance to carry more weight behind is likely because it hurts. He hasn't taken a lame step since last August, but I know that left hock, the one that is fusing, is probably making some noise when Speedy has to use it to support both his weight and mine.
It was in the left lead canter that I could feel the most resistance which makes sense because it's the left hind that takes the brunt of his weight, and that's the hock that has arthritis. Fortunately, the work that he's doing right now doesn't call for much canter work. In fact, he only has to canter three-fourths of the 20-meter circle at A. I think he can handle it.
When J came out for a lesson on Friday, Speedy was his normal, cheerful self. It's only when I get on that he pins his ears a bit. It's really hard for me to ride him in a Training Level frame. I know what he can do, so letting him tip his weight onto his forehand just feels so wrong. That's why I don't ride him much. His ladies don't yet know how to ask for Third Level collection so he's very happy to perform for them at their level.
J has been riding Speedy for several months so she knows all of the movements required for Introductory level. She just hadn't put them together until now. We ran through Intro Test B several times identifying the places where we need to focus our attention over the next two weeks. We did the same thing for Test B, but by the time we did that test - which is very similar, J had already made the needed corrections, so that test looked better than the first.
I truly love seeing another rider enjoying my horse. Speedy has turned out to be a fabulous schoolmaster which is helping ensure he'll live a long life. For a horse like Speedy who thrives on attention, living turned out in a field free to wander and roam wouldn't be enough for him. He needs to feel useful and special, and thanks to his ladies, he's getting all of that and more.
Keep up the good work, Speedy G!
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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%: