From Endurance to Dressage
The Honeymoon is Over
Yep. Let real life begin. Or, more colloquially known as Boot Camp. Yeah ... that's where ponies go to get their heads on straight. Speedy spent years in boot camp; he wasn't much of a yes, ma'amer as a youngster (not much has changed!).
Even though Izzy is six years old, training wise, he is very clearly still a four year old. After the screaming and hollering he did on Saturday's hand walk, I made the decision to let the real work begin. Sunday morning was warm and sunny which meant our heavy fog had cleared up which made keeping an eye on an isolated horse much easier.
As soon as I pulled into the barn, I put Izzy in his rope halter and walked out and around to the back side of the arena to a particularly large, and sturdy tree. I tossed the lead rope up and over a thick branch, tied a slip knot, patted Izzy's neck, and walked away.
To my surprise, he was pretty unconcerned about being left out in the middle of nowhere alone. He could see the barn, of course, but really, all he did was circle around a little bit trying to figure out the situation. I left him there a good twenty minutes while I groomed and tacked up Speedy. When I was ready to ride, I untied Izzy and escorted him to the other end of the property.
I kept my eye on him as I warmed up, but he didn't whinny, and he wasn't fussing. I left him tied up to my trailer while I rode and later untacked. Once Speedy was back in his own stall, he started hollering to Izzy (bad pony!). It was only then that Izzy started to call. My plan was to let him holler all afternoon if need be, but Speedy actually gave up the fight rather quickly which meant that Izzy did too.
When I went to get Izzy, I saw that he was quite sweaty and there were some hoof prints in the dirt. He was obviously stressed about being alone, but I suspect his previous owner worked on standing tied because Izzy never challenged the lead rope. And for those are worried, I only tie with a Blocker Tie Ring. If something had happened, he would have been able to pull himself free, but he would have had to pull back pretty hard as I had the Tie Ring set on the second tension level.
Since the day was so warm, mid-sixties, and he was pretty sweaty, I walked him the long way around to the wash rack. Speedy hollered immediately, Izzy kept it together and remained quiet (rock on, superstar!). I gave his front end a quick hosing, but I was very careful about not getting his hind end wet for fear of inadvertently spraying the bandage. And then, since I could, I made him stand in the wash rack for another twenty or thirty minutes.
In total, he stood tied for the better part of an hour and a half. He got moved every twenty to forty minutes, and I could always see and hear him. Considering he was so goofy about being off the property the day before, I was quite impressed with he handled being alone. He could see the barn and other horses, but at a clinic or a show he'll be able to do that too. I didn't want to torture him, but I did want to help him build some confidence.
There will definitely be more of these kinds of days over the next month. At the end of February, Speedy and I are heading back to the Ventura area for another two-day clinic with Dr. Christian Schacht. Izzy needs to be able to see us drive off without panicking. A few more days of this kind of work and he should be a bit more confident.
2/2/2015 10:21:08 pm
I LOVE how you're preparing Izzy now for situations he'll encounter later. It really, really sucks that he got injured, but it's good that you have the time (or are forced to take the time?) to build his education on the ground while he heals. What a superstar!
2/3/2015 09:27:48 pm
I always teach my horses these types of things, especially since I travel with them a lot, but it does sort of suck that he got injured too. It does take some stress off that I am not doing THIS and working him under saddle. When we get to the under saddle part, I am pretty sure it's going to be a piece of cake.
2/2/2015 11:00:38 pm
I will admit I was pretty worried about this until you got to the blocker ring! It seemed unlike you. A good lesson for him to learn, for sure. Boot camp will do him good.
2/3/2015 09:24:38 pm
Yeah ... I am not a fan of hard-tying without something that will give safely. :0) Being tied to a trailer specifically seems to create more opportunities for disaster, but it's worth teaching them to do it safely, especially if you want to trail ride or show or go to the vet ... :0)
2/3/2015 09:29:32 pm
I always try to find the silver lining! So when things don't go as planned (like my horse slicing open his leg), I always try and shift gears and make whatever wait time I have count for something. All of this had to be done at some point. Now is just as good a time as any. :0)
2/3/2015 09:31:39 pm
After Speedy, I said I would never buy another 3 year old. And then after Speedy turned 4 and then 5 and then 6, I insisted I wasn't buying anything under 7 again. Apparently, there is no magic age. Maybe I'll shoot for an 11 year old next time. Speedy will by 11 in April, and he's finally about "broke."
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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.
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%: