From Endurance to Dressage
My second test of the day was just three rides after the first so I opted to hang out by the ring rather than walk back to the warm up. Izzy was tense and worried, but within minutes, he was walking nicely with a swinging back. And really, that's all I am looking for right now - relaxation at a show.
Due to my own inability to DELETE stuff, Best Friend was not able to capture the ride in its entirety. At just after a minute, my ipad ran out of space. Here's what she did capture. Pay close attention to the break to canter up center line. He can definitely sit deeply.
Overall, I liked this test better than any I've ridden so far. The score was low at 54.688%, but outside of the blooper moments, Izzy was far more in tune with me than he has been. It was like he suddenly realized I was up there. His show nerves were still raging, but I felt like I was actually riding him, not just piloting a rocket on a string.
His trot up centerline was clearly fussy, but he was much straighter and not trying to outrun his front end.
But this time, I just couldn't keep him in the walk. The jigging was back, but it was far less than in previous tests. Instead of jigging the entire way across the diagonal, it was only a step here or there, but there were enough of them to garner a 4.5.
While the judge wasn't in love with our 20-meter trot circles at E/B, I know they were much better than we've done in the past. Those circles are hard because they are in the middle of the ring rather than on the rail at A/C. Izzy likes to blow through his shoulder, so this is where he'll lose his balance and throw in a rear or a spook. I'll take the 6 for the first circle and a 5.5 for the second isn't too bad.
The one surprise that Izzy threw me was his refusal to halt at X at the end of the test. The halt has been something that he's been doing pretty well. While we don't have it on video, you can tell from the judge's comment that it took quite a while to get it. He simply wouldn't rest all four feet on the ground at the same time.
With Chemaine's words ringing in my ear, I decided to school him no matter how long it took. He backed up, I added leg. He stepped sideways, I pushed him back over. The halt took so long that I had time to have a conversation in my head about what to do. I figured that if he never halted, we were getting a zero. If he finally halted, no matter how long it took, I knew that the judge would have to give us at least a 1 for very bad.
I've never earned a zero, and I wasn't about to then either. I finally got all of his hooves to stay still long enough to give my salute. We earned a 4 which is only insufficient, but it's better than not executed.
While I started the day feeling pretty discouraged, I drove home feeling inspired to keep on trying. Best Friend once again stepped up to the plate and hit a home run. She's almost more of a Pollyanna than I am. She gives me that kick in the pants or the smack to the face whenever she thinks I am being too hard on Izzy.
She only sees him every couple of weeks so she's always totally amazed at how different he is every time she sees him. She's quick to point out every little thing he does that's better than the last time. Look at how much hay he's eating, look at how quietly he's standing there, look at how he didn't spook when that Friesian passed by too closely ...
My scores weren't great, we finished in last place both times, but I drove home with a huge smile, grateful for an awesome friend and an amazing horse. I hope you're as blessed as I am.
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%: