From Endurance to Dressage
Endurance horses are very, very good at a "trot out." In eventing, I think they refer to it as a "trot up." An endurance trot out happens at the pre- and post-vet checks as well as at all vet checks during a race. The purpose of course is to ascertain whether the horse is sound or not. Since endurance horses are asked to do so many trot outs during a single endurance race, they get pretty good at it. Speedy does perfect trot outs.
Even if your horse is never going to be an endurance horse or an eventer, it's still highly likely that at some time in his life he'll need to do a trot out for the vet. I taught Izzy to do a decent trot out years ago, but ... I haven't practiced at all. With his recent lameness (still working under the assumption that it's a stone bruise), I have found it necessary to check his soundness by doing a trot out. Let's just say that the first one did not go well.
The first day I did the trot out, no one could tell whether he was lame or not. He would not trot in a straight line, and he yanked me all over the place as he boisterously flung his head in every direction but forward. I realized this was not the kind of behavior I expect from my horses, so I set out to fix things over the weekend.
With my vet's approval, I gave Izzy the better part of a week off with Equioxx to reduce any inflammation. Since he wasn't overtly lame or uncomfortable, and since he whinnied at me incessantly to come play with him, I've used the past week to school the trot out. After just one day, he got much better at it. It took a couple of sharp corrections, but he eventually remembered that my job is to set the pace, and his job is to trot out along side me without trying to dodge left or right or run me over. Especially that last part.
Each day that we practice, he gets more confident and relaxed. He still wants to get sassy as we come back towards the barn, but I am working on it. Over the weekend, my husband brought the dogs to the ranch for a run and a swim in the river. I try not to pester him to do videos when he comes out as he finds it incredibly boring, but I really needed a trot out video to check Izzy's current soundness. So, despite our two dogs trying to trip everyone up, my husband shot a good video of Izzy's work-in-progress trot out.
Izzy did really well trotting to the top of the driveway especially considering that our dogs were running every which way and the ranch dogs were barking at them. The trot out back toward the barn was terrible. We're working on it.
There is no end to the things you can teach a horse, and some of them are even helpful.
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%: