From Endurance to Dressage
Trail Ride #4
With no turnout or riding on Monday, I was a wee bit worried about what kind of wild child I might have in Sydney for Tuesday's ride. It was still hot, 101℉, but the humidity had fallen, there was a breeze (like a blow dryer), and the sky was clear. I can ride in that kind kind of heat.
Sydney seemed pleased to see me which was encouraging. I gave him 15 minutes to eat dinner while I cleaned stalls. Since it was so hot, I gave him a quick shower and saddled him while he was still wet. He had done a great job riding the loop to the left, so I knew it was time to challenge him again by riding the loop in the opposite direction. You know, the whole right eye, left eye thing.
We walked out of the driveway and turned left. Sydney immediately yanked the reins out of my hands to graze. Booyah! Normally, that would be considered somewhat rude, but when you're riding a horse who has shown an exceptional ability at bolting and rearing, that low level rudeness is tolerated, and maybe even welcomed.
I asked him to pick up his head and we continued on. To the next patch of grass where he again insisted on grazing. Okay, now. This is a horse of a different color!
I let him graze a few more times, like 20, but then I told him that this was serious business and we had a schedule to keep. Move it, Dude! When we made the turn to Dog Alley, that's what I am now calling that section with six dogs on one side and two on the other, he did get a little bit high, but I just pulsed my ring fingers while adding leg and just repeated, put your head down, put your head down, put your head down. And he did.
When we got to the back side of the barn, I was expecting some resistance when I asked him to continue on to the dirt road. There wasn't any. And Speedy wasn't helping as he whinnied his head off for us. Sydney just motored on by. The dirt road, the Field of Dreams (I do have a sense of humor), was now on Sydney's left. We never even stepped into the grass. There was no circling. He simply marched down the middle of the road, strolled by the neighbor's two labs, and made the final turn to home where he of course tried to graze his way into his stall.
The whole thing took about 20 minutes. I was quite pleased with his effort, especially since doing things in the opposite directions is usually like starting brand new. Not this boy; he seems to be ambidextrous, or at least able to use his right and left brain equally!
A new challenge tomorrow!
8/22/2013 02:56:02 am
I'm really enjoying following the trail ride experiments. It's a good reminder that you just have to do things over and over until they are no big deal. And that if you're consistent about making it no big deal, it WILL work eventually.
8/23/2013 12:02:08 pm
Thanks, Mona. That's my plan. :0)
8/22/2013 01:16:22 pm
Great play by play! Good job! I haven't ridden at all this week... Reading your trials and triumphs are really motivating me! Look out Varro, tomorrow, WE RIDE!
8/23/2013 12:02:47 pm
Best of luck!!! I am glad to hear that you're finding useful nuggets in my rock pile of a mess. :0)
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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%: