From Endurance to Dressage
I have to keep reminding myself just how steadily Izzy is progressing. It's easy to get discouraged when you're not flying through the levels. I just keep reminding myself that Rome wasn't built in a day and neither is a Grand Prix horse. Whether we make it that far is to be seen of course, but it doesn't hurt to aim high.
Less than two months ago, Izzy finally held a right lead canter on a 20-meter circle. That was just eight short weeks ago. Since that time, we've improved so much that holding the lead is no longer an issue. Now we're working on picking it up quietly. He has improved so much that I can now canter the quarter line and even work our way down to a 15-meter circle. We're also able to canter a square.
Our left lead canter is also improving. We've been able to hold that lead only slightly longer than the right. Just a month ago, I could get a canter departure, but then we worked on holding it without exploding. Over the weekend, I was finally able to school multiple trot to canter transitions while on the same circle. There is still some fussing and an occasional temper tantrum, but he can now pick up a left lead, canter as long as I ask, come back to trot, and then pick up the left lead again.
I've stopped using the sliding side reins before every ride, but I am still using them several times a week. One of the things that I was finally able to school with them was adjusting his trot. When I first started lunging him, Izzy pretty much had a single gear, and it was a fast one. It's taken several weeks to show him that he can just trot around quietly. The same for the canter; it's not a race and he's not going to get there any faster.
Now, I can ask for a relaxed trot, slow it down to almost nothing, and then send him forward into a bigger trot. Once he figured out that he wasn't in trouble when I asked for the bigger trot, he happily listens for the cue to slow down and waits for me to send him into the bigger gait. I found that the more I sent him forward and brought him back, the transition to canter was so much easier for him. That's what happens when your hind end is engaged.
This coming weekend, we're riding in another two-day clinic with the always fabulous Dr. Christian Schacht. I am so excited to hear what he thinks about Izzy. I know that the work I do with Chemaine Hurtado falls right in line with Dr. Schacht's teaching, but it will be great to see how much of her lessons that I've been able to implement.
Izzy needs as many field trips as possible, and while I'll be missing a show hosted by my CDS Chapter, I think Izzy will get a lot more training and exposure at a two-day clinic. This will be his first time stabling over-night, and we'll school in the covered ring which can be scary for a lot of horses.
Our progress might be a bit slow, but it's there, and we're picking up speed. Mighty is not that far away!
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%: