From Endurance to Dressage
And sometimes they come flying off the bus in a shower of sparks and flames.
My first three rides after the most recent Christian Schacht clinic were AMAZING. And then we had a blow out. Whomp, whomp.
Izzy said nope to trotting forward and even bucked and bolted when I insisted. At first, I thought he might be sore, so I left the arena and hacked around the property. Not sore.
The next time I rode, I lunged him before I got on. His canter was unbalanced, but he was respectful. I got on, and the dude refused to go forward without flat out bolting and "broncing" his way across the ring. I swear to you that I told him right then and there that he was for sale. I was so over it.
I hopped off, threw him in the round pen for a few minutes and then tried again. He was even worse.
I almost bawled. When he launched into the air with all four legs each going a different direction, I jumped off, slipped his reins through his throat latch, and turned him loose. I then sat gaping in astonishment as he galloped the entire perimeter of the arena for close to ten minutes. He even changed directions several times. After the first few minutes, he opened up his stride and really let 'er rip.
When he finally came to a stop and stood in front of me, I got on for the third time. And what do you know? We were able to get to work.
The next day, I slipped his reins through his throat latch and sent him on his way before I even got on. He galloped around for another 6 - 7 minutes and then stood quietly. By this point I had realized that even though Izzy has a HUGE turnout, he is obviously not burning off enough energy during the day. While he has room to run around, he's not.
I didn't think two days of galloping was enough, so after he galloped, I got on but ditched the arena and headed out around the neighborhood. I wanted Izzy to have the chance to really move out without the pressure of "doing it right."
I think I've mentioned this before, but I have (almost) zero fear on a horse out in the open. They almost can't make me nervous if I have room to let them work it out. So when Izzy got really bouncy when we passed the cavorting pigs at the Haner Family Farm, I just sat deeper and laughed. Bounce away, big boy I told him. Let your freak flag fly. He did, but he eventually refocused and kept his brain with me.
By the time we got to the old golf course - it's now just thin grass surviving on gently rolling mounds, his brain was back in place. I've never schooled him in such a big open space before, but I was feeling like we needed it. We picked up a trot. We cruised up and over the mounds and made the circle bigger and then smaller and then bigger again. I asked for a right lead canter.
And there it was ... the most awesome ride ever!!!!!!!
We cantered all over that open field with ears pricked happily forward. He lengthened his stride but stayed pretty light in my hand. We floated over those little undulations taking in the rise and fall of the ground like it was nothing. He was balanced and adjustable. The bucking and bolting were gone, and in their place was a very happy pony.
I brought him back to trot and then changed direction. He cantered quite willing to the left and hungrily ate up the ground. At one end of the field is a line of railroad ties in a line. They're about ten inches high and perfect for our "jumping" ability which is none.
We walked over the railroad ties a few times, and then I sent him over them at a trot. He hopped over in the front, but trotted over with his hind legs. We went back a forth a few times just because we could.
From there, we headed home. Both of us felt so much better. He walked home with a bit of a swagger and a much longer stride. I realized that Izzy isn't going to be a super quiet horse for a long time. I am just going to have to learn how to manage his energy until he gets where I want him to be. It took Speedy almost 9 years to get there.
If all else fails, maybe we can do some cross country. Anyone got a jumping saddle I can borrow? (please say no!)
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%