From Endurance to Dressage
It's time consuming to bit up in the side reins every time I ride, but it seems as though it takes less time in the long run.
When I rode on Monday afternoon, Izzy was a little sassy and very forward, but rather than box him up, I let him go forward. That meant that all he wanted to do was canter. I went with it.
I found that I was needing to do pretty strong half halts, the kind that last for two strides or more. The kind where I get firm and think 1 ... 2 ... release ... 1 ... 2 ... release. When I ride him like this, Izzy will rock back on his hind end and carry himself - if he's listening and balanced.
While I was half halting away, I felt a flash of irritation and had this thought: Dang! Why I am needing such strong half halts? I suddenly realized that we were tracking right, the harder direction. All of a sudden, I was tickled with the quality of the canter. It was so improved that I had forgotten which was the harder direction!
It's so hard to see progress when it comes this slowly. As I was finishing up my ride, I was thinking about what to say to Dr. Christian Schacht at this weekend's clinic. When I rode with him in May, he had said that with a few months of good riding, this horse would make a lot of progress.
That thought bummed me out of course because I am not sure Izzy has had the "good" riding that Dr. Schacht was referring to. But then I remembered how hard it was to pick up a canter in May. Dr. Schacht kept asking for more inside bend and softness before getting the canter lead. We struggled with it. Now? It's not perfect of course, but I don't wonder if we'll get a canter departure. Instead, I'm working on picking up the correct lead where I ask for it.
While we are still at it, where I want it is a lot better than if we'll get it. Perspective is a beautiful thing.
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
*** SCEC 10/15-16/22
2022 Completed …
(*) Tehachapi 5/22/22
(*) Tehachapi 7/24/22
(***) Tehachapi 8/28/22
2023 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
Qualifying Training Level
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%:
Score 1: 62.115%