From Endurance to Dressage
There was more to Wednesday's lesson than just the outside leg becomes the new inside leg concept. One of other thing the judge pointed out was that Speedy G needs more activity behind and he needs to work over his top line better. JL gave me two choices for accomplishing that.
There are many advantages when using a hunter/jumper trainer instead of an actual dressage trainer. As a h/j, JL doesn't have anything invested in the dressage world. She doesn't know the judges, the tests, or any of the riders. She hasn't read the dressage books by the Right People and she isn't trying to expand her clientele. This means that she's just teaching the fundamentals that all horses should know and isn't influenced by the method du jour.
So what were the two choices? Well, the first was to push Speedy up to the bit and HOLD HIM UP. Doing this would require me to push, push, push and hold, hold, hold. Um ... no. That doesn't sound like very much fun. The second option was to slow down the front end so that his hind legs and front legs were moving together. Hmm ... that sounds good. Let's try that one! JL agreed.
JL asked us to trot out and then using my core and seat, I was to ask him to slow way down so that he was almost trotting in place. I simply tightened my core but kept my leg on so that he didn't fall into a walk. He responded immediately by shortening his stride while keeping the rhythm of the trot. Once I could feel that he was balanced and rhythmical, I softened everything and moved my hands forward slightly. Speedy responded by lengthening his stride just a little bit. The good thing was that he was now even in the front and back. Almost immediately I tightened my core and brought him back to a "trot in place" idea. We kept that position for a few strides and I again relaxed and let him lengthen.
I could tell immediately that Speedy G enjoyed the exercise. He was loose in his neck and very responsive. The result of the "trot in place" was that he came back onto his hind end just a little bit which freed up his shoulders. We started making the turns much more easily and he got softer and softer. This may seem like a step backward, but slowing down his trot by slowing the front end will help us in the long run. When we get this mastered, a true lengthening will be easy as pie!
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%: