From Endurance to Dressage
I am not going to say that getting COVID was a good thing because we all know that isn't true. There was something good that came out of it though. I tend to push myself pretty hard, and I find it challenging to slow down and take time off. Usually, I take a break only because I am forced to, like most recently.
While I was feeling worried about my fitness level and motivation, what I discovered was that a three-week break gave my brain a chance to process all of the stuff that I've been learning over the past six months. It took a few days for my brain and body to make a connection, but once it happened, I was thrilled with how I was riding. Don't get me wrong, I still look like a plump, middle aged, adult ammie up there, but my thinking is much clearer lately, without any sense of over-reacting. I understand Izzy better, and the choices I am making while riding are more effective than ever.
After the show we did at the end of October, I asked Sean Cunningham, owner and trainer at STC Dressage, if he thought Izzy needed a break. I was heading out of town the following weekend, so if nothing else, we agreed Izzy would get a week off. Of course, I didn't get to go. Instead of a week-long break, Izzy also ended up with three weeks off. I know the break did me a ton of good, and I am pretty sure Izzy needed it as well.
Last Friday, the day before my most recent lesson, I set up my Pivo to record a ride. The day before, Izzy and I worked through some stuff that's been brewing for a while. His regular thing is to be very good for about the first twenty-five minutes of a ride, and then he starts to get grumpy. Most of the time, I try to wrap things up so I can end on a good note. On Friday, I made a very conscious decision to ride well past that twenty-five minute mark. As expected, Izzy got mad.
I halted him, and asked him to get soft. We walked on. I asked for a trot, and when he braced, I halted, and asked for him to get soft. No matter what he did - and he did a lot including threatening to rear, I halted, asked him to get round, and then put him back to work. We did a bazillion circles, most of them 10 and 15-meters, but I just kept reminding him that he doesn't have to push against me. In fact, I wasn't going to allow him to push against me. He could go straight as long as he did it softly. If not, we circled.
By the end of the ride - 52 minutes, he was willing to do a stretchy trot. It was done at a slow jog, but he was soft and not pushing against me. The next morning, I crossed my fingers hoping that he was willing to do just a short, quiet ride. I had a lesson scheduled for the next day. The four videos below are the entire ride with the walking bits left out. I was over the moon happy with how relaxed and trusting he was. Izzy's willingness to work proved that the decisions I had made the day before were spot on. All of the videos are boring, but I am really happy with what they show.
Nobody looks fabulous here, but we're not a train wreck either!
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%: