From Endurance to Dressage
Last spring, I felt certain that my relationship with Sydney had to come to an end. I was clearly not the girl for him. After nine moths together, our rides were quickly deteriorating. The rearing and bolting were getting so scary that I had to quit taking lessons on him. Each day I was more afraid to ride him than I was the day before.
One evening, I told Hubby that I thought it would be best if I sold Sydney. I am not sure why Hubby didn't secretly do a happy dance at my news while consoling me with thoughtful platitudes, but he didn't. Instead, he encouraged me to keep trying and not give up. He must have known that a failure of this magnitude would have made me very difficult to live with.
I've written about this before so you know that I changed my outlook with Sydney and started riding him in a different way: no expectation of showing, loose reins, just have fun, etc. Six months later, Sydney is a new horse. My ride on Saturday was everything I had hoped for when I bought Sydney: fun, relaxing, "dressagey", and safe.
We have finally arrived at the point where I feel like we are an Intro Level pair. That's good because it means we can eventually become a Training Level pair and then First Level will be within our sights.
I can now reliably and safely hack Sydney around the arena on a loose rein. Just a few months ago, the scary end was simply too scary, and I usually avoided it at the walk and always at the trot. I can now trot on a loose rein anywhere in the arena and guide him with just my seat and legs - no reins to make the turns! We can trot 10 and 20 meter circles, shallow loops, and cross the diagonal without the thought of bolting. We've even made it to a show. Elephant, what Elephant?
I have learned that he needs to move and that he DOES NOT LIKE to feel trapped. If I use too much hand too soon, he becomes worried. So I don't use too much hand. If he is worried, we move in a small circle that requires him to move in a very controlled manner. He wants me to be in control. He wants me to make the decisions. So I do.
While working in his stall this weekend, he stood right behind me nuzzling my hair and arms. It was clear that he wanted to be close to me and that he enjoys my company. Right back at you, Dude, right back at you!
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%