From Endurance to Dressage
This version is an upgrade though!
Speedy has been dealing with a few different lamenesses for a while. The first one is something he does to his right front foot when he gets agitated in his paddock. He twists and pivots until he's so sore that he can barely walk on it. It generally resolves itself in about two weeks. He has seen the vet(s) numerous times and had radiographs done. Without an MRI, my vet says to just manage him. So, I try not to let his environment change too much as that it was drives the anxiety.
The second lameness was a small tendon bow that he did in turnout last spring. Once he healed up from that, we went another few rounds with lameness number one when we changed barns. It took him a while to settle into the routine at the new place.
And then, just when things were running well again, he tweaked something a month or so ago and was off for another two weeks. The stars aligned this month however, and we were able to ride three whole times last week and then make it to Sunday's show.
To help prepare for our first show in a year and a half, Chemaine Hurtado, owner and trainer at Symphony Dressage Stables, agreed to come to Bakersfield for a Saturday afternoon lesson. Even more amazing was that she was able to stay over and coach a few of us through Sunday's show.
I brag about Speedy constantly. While he's truly an awesome dude, he's also a bit of a challenge to ride. Speedy is built for the endurance trail: he's long and ever so slightly downhill. He can cover trail like nobody's business which means it's more difficult for him to round, lift his back, and get off of his forehand. Hard, but not that hard.
When Chemaine asked what I needed helped with, I told her that our canter lengthenings were good, but we couldn't come back to working canter. To address the issue, she took a page out of Izzy's playbook: the inside rein crossed just slightly in front of the pommel.
I know an exercise is a good one if Speedy gets Sassy. For the most part, he's happy to go along with me if I let him off the hook. When I finally get his number though, and he knows the jig is probably up, he'll always throw a bit of a hissy fit in an effort to change my mind.
It never works for him though. Once I crossed that inside rein, he had nothing left to tug on or hang on. Within a very short time, he gave up and started listening to my half halts. In fact, on our first test we got 6s for the working canter after the lengthening and 7s on the next one!
The trick also "fixed" our leg yield issue, something I've been working on for a year with Speedy. We got a 6.5 and a 7.5 (!!!) on our leg yields for Test 2 and 6.5 and 7.0 on Test 3.
Speedy is an awesome little horse and so much fun to ride, but a lot of credit is due to my trainer. Even though Speedy doesn't look like your typical dressage pony, Chemaine has every expectation that he be one. I love that she expects correct work from him regardless of his size or breed.
Go, Speedy, go!
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%: