From Endurance to Dressage
Since Tuesday's ride had gone off with no real drama, I knew I had to find yet another way to challenge Sydney, and myself by extension. I am sure some of you are wondering why I feel the need to keep pushing his envelope. It's not because I want to master tail riding or anything, I've been there and done that. A lot. For many years. Over thousands of miles.
The only way I can simulate the tension that Sydney shows me in the show ring is to find places near home where he feels the same tension. So far, that appears to be most anywhere outside of the arena. As he gets comfortable in each place, I have to keep stretching to find a new place that causes tension.
My plan for Wednesday, which was still hot as holy hell by the way (99℉), was to skip the neighborhood loop and go straight to the grass field. I again gave Sydney a quick shower, saddled him up, and left the barn area. As anticipated, he dove for the grass, but this time I said, no, and urged him forward.
We passed the two barking labs with a small spook, but he came back to me very quickly and we continued on. Once we arrived at the field, I sent him in a circle in the grass. We road a circle or two at the walk, and then I let him graze. We did this a few times, moving down, and further into the field, after each circle.
When I thought that he was relaxed and listening, I asked for a trot. It wasn't great work, but at least it wasn't a hell bent for leather kind of thing either. He wasn't super round or completely on the bit, but his mouth was dripping foam, and he gave some really good stretches. There were also a few tense moments where I had to make the circle smaller and remind him that my spur was there, and I was prepared to use it!
We worked for a good twenty minutes and then made the turn for home. As we entered the last grove of trees, I have to duck a bit, Sydney saw an opportunity and threw a small fit that involved some crow hopping. Drat! I righted myself and sent him in some circles that required a ton of effort on his part. It seemed to send him a message. As we entered the driveway, I spent some time working on halts.
Each day, Sydney has shown drastic improvement. My secret goal (although not so secret now), is to work him in the field at walk, trot, canter without feeling like an explosion is imminent. At the walk, check. At the trot, mostly check. I don't know if I can get to the canter before Sunday's show.
We've made a ton of progress in a week, but I just don't know if it's enough.
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%: