From Endurance to Dressage
Chemaine Hurtado, owner and trainer at Symphony Dressage Stables, and I were recently talking about why I made it through Second Level so quickly. While I am not saying that we owned Second Level, we did get through the level pretty successfully. During our discussion, we came to the conclusion that the reason we made it through Second more quickly than Training and First was because we spent a lot - and I mean a boatload, of time making sure our foundation was rock solid.
Chemaine is really good at not cheating. She knows that in order to be successful down the road, there can't be any holes in the training. Those holes will eventually reveal themselves, and you'll be stuck. Speedy has been relatively easy to train. He's a willing partner, but he's not naturally talented which means he has to work for it. Some of it is hard for him, especially the lateral stuff. Either way, he figures it's his job, so he puts in the best work day he can.
On the other hand, there's Izzy, a horse that is naturally talented who finds collection easy, and he has haunches that will go anywhere you put them. He has been anything but easy. His training wasn't linear because asking for the harder movements kept his brain engaged so that he didn't kill me. That means that we're always going backwards to address the basics from Training and First Level.
As I rode over the weekend, I started thinking about which show I might try with him. There are some schooling shows this winter that might work for us. The problem is that Izzy is schooling movements from Second and Third Level, but there are things from First Level that he can't yet do. And frankly, some of the long free walks found in Training might still be a challenge for him.
So what level can he do? He can't really do a Second Level test even though his collected canter is really nice. He can't do a First Level test because he can't quite show a lengthened stride in trot. If I try to do an Introductory Level test, he'll kill me out of boredom. Which means I am left with Training Level. I think.
Maybe I ought to get him off the property again before I start thinking about blue ribbons. Am I right?!
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
*** SCEC 10/15-16/22
2022 Completed …
(*) Tehachapi 5/22/22
(*) Tehachapi 7/24/22
(***) Tehachapi 8/28/22
2023 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
Qualifying Training Level
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%:
Score 1: 62.115%