From Endurance to Dressage
The 2017 USEF Rule Book has this to say about the simple change of lead: This is a movement in which, after a direct transition out of the canter into a walk, with three to five clearly defined steps, an immediate transition is made into the other canter lead.
It definitely sounds simple. I wish it was. Speedy and I have been working on it for a while. What I've found is that it doesn't happen if your horse is on the forehand, if your horse is using his momentum to drive the canter rather than using rear propulsion, or if you can't keep your horse's haunches under control.
Ask me how I know.
Speedy and I had a great not-so-great-ride the other day wherein we discussed each of these problem areas. In our last lesson, my trainer gave me several good exercises and at least one thing to think about: Can we half halt here? How about here? And now here? And what about here?
You get the idea. A bazillion half halts will get Speedy off of his forehand and driving from behind.
That wonderful turn on the forehand exercise, half pass style, is getting Speedy's haunches in line. He isn't thrilled about it, which tells me I am on the right track, but it sure is effective.
During a ride the other day, I finally made a connection: Speedy likes to carry his haunches to the left which makes getting that walk transition relatively easy that direction. Recognizing that helped me see why we struggle getting it to the right.
Once I had that picture in my head, I half halted my sassy pony about four billion times, shoved those haunches over in a turn on the forehand another four billion times plus two, and finished it off with a fairly clean canter to walk transition.
Take that, simple change. We're coming for 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 Second Level. 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%
2021 Show Season
(r) Ride-a-Test Clinic
(Q) Must Qualify
2021 Pending …
2021 Completed …
10/24-25 SCEC (***)
11/7-11/8 SB (***)
2021 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
2nd Level Qualifying
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%:
Score 1: 60.610% Bhathal
2nd Level Qualifying
5 Scores/4 Judges/61%:
Stuff I Read