From Endurance to Dressage
My plan for Christmas break was to ride and ride and ride. I didn't. Instead, I did a lot of bass fishing (more on that in a day or two) and watched the rain. It's hard to complain about the weather when we're in the midst of a very long and entrenched drought.
I managed to ride Izzy once or twice each week. The good thing is that he's on a huge turnout 24 hours a day so when I did get to ride, I didn't have to worry too much about riding a rocket on a string.
We had a break in the rain on Friday, and while it wasn't blazing sunshine, the air was fairly dry without the gloomy dampness we've had. I tacked up slowly, part of my patience with a good attitude thing, and spent some time visiting both boys. I've discoverd that Izzy is a much happier fellow if I groom Speedy first. It seems to give him some time to look around and relax.
Even while it rained, I spent a few minutes each day bridling and unbridling. Izzy really lost confidence in the bridle over the fall, and the double sent him over the edge. While he's not back to perfect, he's getting better and better.
It took me a few minutes on Friday to persuade him to take the bit, but rather than get frustrated, I turned it into a game. He eventually lowered his head and opened his mouth. I counted that as a win.
When you're not worrying about getting to First Level, it's okay to spend the entire ride walking. That's been my attitude lately. If he's rushing, we walk. If he's willing to be soft, we trot. If he's happy to listen to my aids, we canter. On Friday, even after standing in mud for most of the week, he gave me a lovely, lovely ride.
He got sassy early on, but rather than get exasperated over his 10,000th time spooking. I Iaughed and saw the shenigans for what they were: unbridled exuberance (no pun intended). I kept to my posting rhythm and gave a firm half halt reminding him that it's all in the stretch down.
Over and over I half halted and asked for a stretch. At one point, I felt his back really let go and he offered a swinging, bouncy trot that brought a huge smile to my face. I shifted my weight slightly and brought my inside hip forward. Before he knew what was happening, he was canterig to the right without any attitude.
We did one large circle and came back to trot before he had time to think about it. We changed direction and did the same thing to the left. It was the best ride he's given me in weeks. I realized that simply riding the horse that I have today, instead of trying to improve on the horse I had yesterday, allowed us both to enjoy ourselves.
My next ride might be a disaster, but the good ones are coming more and more frequently. That's all I can ask for.
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%
2022 Show Season
(r) Ride-a-Test Clinic
(Q) Must Qualify
2022 Shows Schedule
(*) Tehachapi 5/22/22
2022 Completed …
2022 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
2 Scores/1 Judges/60%: