From Endurance to Dressage
I have had several good rides on Speedy G since I came back from trying out Sydney. Debbie Davis, of Sport Equine, pointed out very politely that I need to relax my arms and allow them to move. In the car on the way home, I asked Cha Ching's mom what Debbie meant. The answer was that I need to BEND MY ELBOWS. Sheesh ... how many times have I written about this? Here's a great photo showing how stiff my arms get. I am riding a 3 year old Oldenburg a week ago in this photo ... (click the photo to see her sale information - once at the website, scroll down a bit)
My arms are practically locked into place and my wrists are "broken." I do have other photos of riding this mare that are actually quiet good, but this one best illustrates my point.
So ... when I rode Speedy G this week, I consciously focused on bending and softening my elbows. I also started rereading Michael Schaffer's book, Riding in the Moment. The part that resonated with me was the idea of working on one thing at a time. With Speedy G, I get frustrated that we're still not soft, but I ask for other things anyway. On Friday in particular, he just would not soften. Instead, he kept speeding up, falling in, drifting out ... anything except softening. I took a tip from Cha Ching's mom about a good pulley-halt WHOA to say, wrong answer, and tried again. That really got his attention and he started listening. I quit worrying about where he was going, but insisted that he do it softly. Little by little, he softened up and started listening to my aids and got rounder and softer. Once I started focusing on just one thing, the softening, he started to get it.
Memoirs of a Horse Girl also gave me a good tip: for the canter transition move the inside leg forward of the girth, not just at the girth. I've been trying that strategy this last week and Speedy has not bucked at the canter cue. It's not a perfect transition ... yet ... but it's getting better and softer. Thanks, MoaHG!
By the way, does this answer the question of who I'll be riding at the Moorpark Show on July 9th? The answer, of course, is Speedy G. He's not getting off that easily!
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%: