From Endurance to Dressage
It took us twelve hours to do one schooling show: more than an hour to load and unload tack, six hours of driving, and four hours at the show itself. I think I got my money's worth!
Best friend and I loaded Izzy up at 6:30 a.m. for the nearly three hour drive to Thole Farms in the Ventura area. He loaded without issue and unloaded just as quietly. He stood lazily tied to the trailer and even munched the hay hanging in his hay bag. We both stared in amazement; in just two months he's figured out the trailering part of showing. Best friend and I headed down to the show office without a backward glance.
When I first started in dressage, I went to every show alone. Now that best friend is retired, it is amazing having her help. While I am dressing or grooming, she's right there ready to lend a hand. She hands me water bottles, dusts off my boots, holds my horse, fetches whatever, and cheers me on when I am discouraged. She teased that she is now Izzy's human goat - his comfort companion. When I said that she could take photos as well as video, she insisted on a raise.
Izzy has now done four schooling shows. For the first show's warm up, he was very quiet, but he was also alone. For the second show's warm up, he was a fruitcake. He was somewhat better at last month's show, so my goals for this show were twofold: have a relaxed warm up and no 4s at the walk for the tests.
It's not a great video, but here we are in the warm up.
We also did some trotting, but I focused entirely on softening his poll and neck. I kept everything super slow and never let him jig or get heavy in the bridle. When he tried to brace or lean on my hands, I half halted until he softened to the rein. Sometimes that meant that the trot became a walk and the walk a halt.
Here's another video clip - look for the trotting horse and rider.
I was actually really pleased with the walk work. The quality wasn't fabulous, but he actually walked! That's a huge improvement. And while the trot work also has a lot of room for improvement, he kept his marbles in the jar and listened to me the whole time.
Well, there was one little moment ...
It was actually the silliest spook. We were walking along quite nicely and then we weren't. Here's the video (if it starts from the beginning, scroll forward to about 40 seconds):
Silly boy! Aside from that goofy moment, most of the warm up went quite well, if a little slow pokey. Eventually, we'll be able to get in there and actually do some real work. For now, this is the kind of warm up that an Introductory Level horse needs.
Tomorrow: Intro A and a talent for piaffe!
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%: