From Endurance to Dressage
I wrote yesterday's post before I left for this weekend's lesson and schooling show. Izzy's effort showed me that our progress is now picking up speed!
Last week, Izzy and I had a couple of knock down, drag down fights. The dude just wants to do what he wants to do. I tried to work through his issues by doing suppling exercises, rebalancing, and so on. Finally, I chucked the dressage exercises and simply cowgirled up on his butt.
What does that mean? I grabbed the whip and dug my spurs in. There can be no rhythm or connection if the horse won't move forward. When Izzy realized he couldn't run through my aids, he tried balking and sucking back. I quit worrying about where his head was and how we looked and instead, I kicked his butt forward, HARD. Repeatedly.
It took three days of me kicking the heck out of him for an hour each day. By Friday, he was a perfect gentleman again. Our connection was still unsteady and his rhythm still faltered, but he was back on my team and willing to try. I loaded him up on Saturday afternoon for our trip to Moorpark. I was much encouraged.
The plan for the weekend was to take a lesson with Chemaine Hurtado, owner and trainer of Symphony Dressage Stables, on Saturday evening and then show at the schooling show on Sunday. Izzy stabled over-night in the show barn with three other horses and my friend, Kathy, and I camped in the trailer.
Izzy has now done three schooling shows this year, and while we don't have scores yet that are exciting to share, he has shown huge growth over the last few months. For each show he has gotten obviously better. This is something that I never got with Sydney - he got worse. Izzy's progress has been very linear at shows, and it is clear that his confidence is building.
He ate and drank like a rock star this weekend, something he hasn't done all year, even at away lessons. And while he had worried moments in his stall and while tied to the trailer, most of the time he was simply alert and watchful. In fact, we left him in the barn with complete confidence while we drove into town for dinner.
What I love about this video (above) is that it is from very early in the lesson. We had a few big spooks during the lesson, there was a lot of activity outside of the ring, and another horse was schooling with us, but he was almost the same horse that I get at home.
I felt like we could have packed up and gone home after the lesson. He did everything that I was hoping: he stood quietly while I mounted, he walked into the ring without issue, and I was actually able to school his way of going as opposed to simply getting his attention.
This video (above), shows where we are. He was really spooky at the judge's booth because there were a bunch of sheep baa'ing down there, but you couldn't see them. We spent a few minutes there so that I could work on keeping him packaged together when he wanted to spook. Sheep or a judge, both are scary. In the video you can see that he is a lovely mover, and when we eventually eliminate the tension, he's going to be (even more) gorgeous.
Next up - the show!
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%: