From Endurance to Dressage
Blogs are no fun to read when life is sailing along nicely. Who wants to read about rainbows and unicorns? No one. Be honest. We all like to at least occasionally hear that everything has gone to hell in a handbasket. It makes us feel normal.
Well, I am taking one for the team. No, neither of my boys is lame, we've had PLENTY of that this year, but one of them is being a complete jerk. And NO, it is NOT Captain Awesome. If you do the math, that leaves Speedy G, my noodle of a horse.
I just don't know what to do with him. He has zero work ethic and would simply prefer to stand around and look good. He wants all of the glory but none of the hard work. He's the guy that will happily take all of the credit at work after you've worked your butt off on a project.
Our most recent problem, and it's something we've struggled with forever, is that Speedy will not truly work from his hind end. He is lazy. His favorite trick is to simply double his neck so that his cute little Arabian muzzle tucks right into his chest. And then he proceeds to truck around the arena like an empty wheelbarrow, driving his front end into the ground while his hind end remains light and empty.
In an effort to bring Speedy back into work slowly, I started him back at the walk with very little tack. I then added a bridle and finally his saddle. It is now time for one last piece of tack - my spurs.
No, not those, but don't they look like they could get some forward out of a lazy pony?
Now that the novelty of being able to trot and canter is gone, Speedy has been expressing his opinion about the hard work that comes with the more elevated gaits. Carrying his own front end with me on top is just too hard (insert a whine here). There have been some pinned ears, tail swishing, crow hops, and even some refusals.
So on Thursday, I put the spurs back on. And you know what? We actually got a little bit more forward. Every time he curled his neck under, I pushed my hands forward slightly, sat up, and put my leg on. The first time he felt my spurs he gave a big WHAT?!?!?!, and then launched forward. Good boy!
The spurs really helped for the canter. We've been working on the counter canter loop from First Level. He was either blowing through my aids completely and galloping off, or dropping back to a trot when I gave a half halt. Without spurs I couldn't keep him going forward while slowing down his front end. We didn't get the loop looking pretty, but at least I was able to keeping pushing him forward without dropping back into the trot.
In two weeks, I am taking him to the CDS Adult Amateur Clinic with Marisa Festerling. I so hope she can help me get Speedy really working from his hind end. If not, those medieval looking spurs up there might make an appearance!
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%: