From Endurance to Dressage
On Tuesday, I was able to ride in 90% of my arena for the first time since fall. We have had standing water in the corner at K for three solid months. Under normal winter conditions, it can rain, and I can ride that same day. We have excellent drainage with sandy footing that is never slick. Usually.
This year, we've had almost double the amount of average rainfall, and up to four times as much as we've had in the past few years. With a rising water table and relentless storms, there is just nowhere for the water to go. We have had a storm pretty much every Wednesday for the past four months. Just about the time I think the standing water is gone, we get another deluge that soaks the footing for yet another weekend.
Despite being confined to a 25-meter by 20-meter riding area, I am having more fun riding Izzy than I ever have in the past. We're managing two to four rides per week even with the soggy days. My rides aren't usually more than 30 minutes, and sometimes they're less than 20, but he's happy, and I'm happy.
With such a limited riding space, I've focused on transitions and connection to the bit. Since Izzy is a horse who prefers to be braced and stiff, I've used this winter to do endless circles where softness is the only goal. When all I can do are transitions, they have to improve, and Izzy's have. I have seen him morph from a camelephant to a horse who knows how to lift his back and reach for the contact. He still has plenty of goober moments, but for the first time, he is volunteering.
While it seems impossible to school flying changes in a 20 by 25-meter dressage court, we are. We're not getting them consistently, but we're also not having any theatrics about it either. I use my very short diagonal to set him up, and then I either ask for it or I don't. Izzy has given up trying to freak out about it. He might squeal a bit or grunt, and half of the time he loses the canter, but that's it. I ignore everything except a change - for that he gets tons of praise, and just canter on.
Rather than feel despondent about the lack of good riding weather, I've tried to roll with the punches. We ride when we can, we school what we can, and more than anything else, I've tried to take off any pressure To Succeed. I don't know what will happen when we get back to actual lessons, but I am hoping that the friendly horse I am seeing will stick around. I've always played games with him at the mounting block, but now I've also added some groundwork games at the end of every ride. Each day Izzy seems happier to be with me than the day before.
With my spring break beginning this afternoon and a week of mostly good weather in front of us, I am up early ready to have some fun with my big brown horse.
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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%: