From Endurance to Dressage
I've ridden Speedy several more times since his last lesson, and my goal has been to recapture the feeling of "throughness" that we had when I kept his head up. I am pretty surprised at how quickly he has figured it out. He still does the usual hop and skip thing he does when he's trying to avoid me, but I just kept my leg on (why didn't I start wearing spurs ages ago?) and insisted.
In no time at all, I can have him trotting around with a much more consistent rhythm and he is a lot steadier in my hand. When he tries to duck behind the bit, I add leg and lift the left rein to remind him of where he needs to be. (To the right it's the outside rein, but to the left it's the inside rein.)
Several good things are starting to happen:
I will continue with this exercise for the next two weeks. That's when he goes back to see JL. Sydney gets to go for two weeks now. The question I have now is at what point do I start to lower my hands? He has offered to come down, but I know it was in an effort to hide behind the bit. I don't want to play that game. When I asked JL about this after my lesson on Sydney, she suggested I ask for some vertical flexion. If he can continue to use his hind end, he's ready. If he loses steam behind, he's not ready. Hmm ... something to work on.
Even with my hands so high, I am soft with them. When he really engages his hind end and lifts even the slightest bit in his withers, he gets some "relief" from the bit. I know that isn't the right way to describe the feeling, but it's the best I can do. When he works with me, I can shift my hands forward and he really launches us around the arena. It's a fun feeling! There's no way to do that when his nose is touching his belly button.
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%: