From Endurance to Dressage
Show recap tomorrow. In the meantime ...
Man, that sucker is intense. It's not hard in the way that Second was - Second Level, YOU SUCK!, but it's not easy either. The trot work is well within our wheel house; I even find it fun. The canter work is where it gets tricky.
Chemaine Hurtado, owner and trainer at Symphony Dressage Stables, talked me into ditching 3-2 in favor of 3-3. There's not a whole lot of difference between the two until you get to the canter half pass. It's longer, wider, and you have to straighten it out before making a 10-meter half circle followed by the flying change at X (or near X).
Lateral work is Speedy's nemesis; he hates it. He's willing to offer softness OR a lateral movement, but not both at the same time. He's willing to half pass OR canter, again not at the same time. With a show only days away (I wrote this last week :0), I was feeling pretty frustrated. I might have even cried a little bit. Thankfully, Chemaine was able to come down for a lesson on Wednesday morning.
One of the things I most respect about Chemaine as a trainer is that she always asks me how things are going, knowing that I am going to rattle off a list of what needs fixing. I so appreciate that she trusts my feelings about where we are. She doesn't just consult her agenda and insist we stick to that plan. And then, even though it's on the spot, she is able to instantly devise an exercise to address whatever struggle I am having. It's one of her super powers for sure.
After I had finished with my little melt down, she had me work first on softness at the canter. That meant picking it up from the walk softly. If he braced, we came back to walk and did it again. If he hung on my inside rein AT ALL, we walked and did it again. It was amazing how quickly Speedy realized that why yes, he is able to canter and be soft at the same time.
Then we moved on to the canter half pass. The idea was the same. As soon as he made a mistake, and Chemaine was very clear that it wasn't me making the mistake this time, we walked, BUT WE KEPT HALF PASSING. That was the crucial part. Speedy has figured out that if he braces, I'll either whack him forward, or circle. In either case he gets out of the half pass.
With Chemaine's exercise, he had to half pass even if it was at the walk. And there was lots of half pass at the walk because as soon as he quit moving off my leg, I insisted he walk AND CONTINUE HALF PASSING. It never got perfect, but at least we were finally going in a somewhat recognizable sideways direction at the canter.
Then Chemaine had me ride the second half of the test: 1) canter half pass left, half circle, flying change; 2) canter half pass right, half circle, flying change; 3) extended canter, collected canter, trot and centerline.
It is clear that we are still a "developing" Third Level pair, but at least the movements are there and worth scoring. Ww had follow-up lesson on Friday afternoon at the show. I'll let you know how we did.
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%: