From Endurance to Dressage
Still Working the Change of Lead
I don't know why I am so fixated on the change of lead through trot, but I am. I am being very careful not to over-school it, but it's something that I think Speedy is going to be able to do well.
The good thing about working on the change of lead is that it addresses a ton of other movements:
I am riding Speedy only every other day right now, but I am making those rides really count. Since he gets cranky if I school him every day, I'm letting him know that he has to work hard on the days we do ride. So far, he's been happier with this arrangement.
When I rode on Monday, I had to use a lot of spur and bounce him pretty hard off the left rein, but it worked. He gave me some of the best changes of lead through trot that he has done. So often I blame myself when Speedy doesn't get it. In this case, it's still my fault, but only because I need to be really firm in my expectations.
When I let him lean on me, he can't balance himself enough to get a good trot transition. And when he "falls" into the trot, he can't get under himself to pick up the new lead smoothly. I love that I am "feeling" all of this because now I can help him to fix it.
We have a two-day USDF show in a week and a half. I don't think we'll have this test 3 mastered by then, but I am feeling pretty good about it.
With Ava (and obviously it's different for different horses), I had to do constant transitions into and out of canter to get her to sit and balance. I worked on doing 10 strides canter 10 strides trot until we could hit that. Then 7 strides each, then 5, etc. To the point she could jump into and out of the canter much easier... but, you know, the horse has to build the muscles to do it too much to start.
Those transitions are super important building blocks for everything to come, so I totally get it why you are obsessed with them. It wasn't until we started trying to really nail our canter/walks that we were able to keep the connection and thoroughness for the canter/trots. Now the canter/trot is really great, and the canter/walk is passable and occasionally really good, and the change is getting there.
7/14/2015 01:36:38 am
Schooling this exercise allowed Harley to figure out the flying change under saddle. One day is just skipped the trot transition and hopped onto the other lead. It was so exciting. I think that speaks to how much those transitions help the horse find his balance.
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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.
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