From Endurance to Dressage
There is No Monster
Izzy has grown up in so many ways. It has been a long journey however, and we still have so far to go. Whenever I start to feel discouraged, I remember that it wasn't that long ago that we couldn't get a right lead canter, and once we did, Izzy had trouble holding the lead. Now, I am playing around with the quarter-pirouette in canter.
While he has made huge progress, we still struggle. Right now, the struggle seems to be in connecting the dots. We can get a passing medium trot, but in the last five strides, he spooks, jerks his head up, and looks for the monster. He has what feels like a very straight shoulder-in, but when we transition to travers, he again jerks his head up looking for that same monster. We go from lovely to hot mess to lovely to hotter mess. It's an issue I am working hard to resolve.
I am not allowing myself to feel overly discouraged. Each day, he impresses me with something new. His half passes, both at trot and canter are way better than anything I could ever get from Speedy. His canter is so easy to collect which means I can move him anywhere I want to. His simple changes are really nice when he's not worried about me sneaking in a flying change. Don't read more into that than there is; we still don't have a flying change.
I have some new stuff that I am trying, new ways of responding to his imaginary murderous monster in hiding. Getting louder or firmer just doesn't work for this horse. The trick is to figure out how to redirect him while he is in the midst of monsters in every corner! mode. It's hard for him to concentrate on me when he is certain I've forgotten to close the gate on the den of monsters he is sure I am breeding out behind the garage.
When he feels safe, secure, and certain that the monsters aren't about to attack, he's a joy to ride. I just need to convince him that I have not only shut the gate on the monsters, but I've added a chain and padlock. Better still would be to convince him that I am not actually breeding monsters at all. It's early days yet, but I think I might be on to something.
Say it with me, Izzy. There are no monsters underneath the bed or in the closet, and if there were, you're tough enough to kick all their butts back to where they came from.
We may need to repeat it a few more times.
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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%: