From Endurance to Dressage
I have made it my goal to record my ride the day after a lesson. So far, I am doing pretty well. Before I started using my Pivo Pod for virtual lessons, I would drag my set up out to the barn every six weeks or so. A friend told me that she records every single ride and watches every single video. There is no way I am up for that kind of torture, but I figured that I could, at the very least, skim through 45 minutes of video once a week. Sunday was that day.
This post is really about the video clips that I created from that ride, but I just need to say this: Holy cow, Izzy looks like a real dressage horse! When did that happen?!?!?!
This first little clip made me laugh. First of all, I never stop talking to Izzy. I must say good boy at least a thousand times during each ride. During this particular clip, I publicly acknowledged the error was mine even though there was no one watching. I am pretty sure I was apologizing to Izzy. Sound up.
There is nothing humorous, interesting, or even cringeworthy in this next clip. I chose it because it represents what most of our rides look like now. We have our share of bobbles here and there, but our rides are slowly coming together.
One of the many things that I have learned from Sean Cunningham, owner and trainer at STC Dressage, is to have more patience. Sean has helped me see that asking for anything - whether it's a transition or a leg yield or a shoulder-in, before the relaxation is there, serves no purpose. Getting a prompt canter doesn't matter if the next step is a bolt or stumble. Instead, I now know to just sit and wait until Izzy is ready. I ask, and if Izzy doesn't answer correctly, I wait and ask again. My reward is transitions that are getting quieter and quieter. This is the first canter transition of the day.
I've shown these clips in order of how they happened during the ride. After cantering to the right, Izzy started to anticipate the left lead canter. When I wouldn't let him hurtle himself into the gait, he got a bit sassy and then didn't know what to do with his attitude. That generally means a bolt and scoot is coming. While he did bolt into my hands, I LOVED that he very quickly let go of the tension and came right back to me mentally.
After the spook, it took a few minutes for me to get Izzy back on my team. I didn't worry about it. We walked for a minute or two, and I changed the subject. We halted, did a rein back or two, and then carried on. Our left lead canter is still braced as he is learning to canter without leaning on my hands. Even though there are a few rough bits, over all, he looks pretty darn good.
I usually dread watching my videos, but now, I am starting to recognize that my riding is improving quickly, and as a result, Izzy is becoming so much fun to ride. While he still gets very distracted, more and more of the time he's listening to me and trying so hard to do what I am asking. I can't believe what a difference a year can make. Making the switch to STC Dressage was really hard to do, but I am so glad I took that risk.
Think about where we'll be in another year!
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%