From Endurance to Dressage
Yeah. There's that. Trouble, just trouble. Izzy's leg is fine, at least it's not that. He's just been a bit tough to ride this past week. Since I don't really have a handle on why, I'm shelving the topic until I've had the chance to try out a few things.
So if it's alright, I'd really like to make myself feel better by talking about Speedy's recent work. He hasn't always been easy. In fact, for the first three years that I owned him, I threatened to sell him pretty much every week. And even as a seven and eight year old, posting a for sale sign was frequently on my mind.
So when I feel frustrated with Izzy or scared that he's going to turn out to be a looney tune, I remind myself that Speedy, too, went through years of being a complete idiot.
But Speedy's done with that. He's not perfect of course. He still gets wild hairs about this or that, but they're few and far between. And right now, he seems to really enjoy the work that we're doing.
I wrote about the trickier parts of First Level's test 3 yesterday. Even though we didn't master everything in one day, Speedy showed some really great improvement in yesterday's ride. When we worked on the 10-meter circles, I could feel him really trying to figure the movement out. And that's how he is. To him, it's like a choreographed dance - he definitely remembers how each movement should go.
I am very careful to never put the whole test together at home because he would memorize it and then try to rush through it in an effort to impress me with how smart he is. Instead, I ride pieces of the test and hook those pieces to other pieces, but I do everything out of order. It might seem far fetched, but Speedy does seem to memorize each of the chunks.
While I was helping him learn the 10-meter circles, I saw his ears flick back and forth a few times as I was preparing for the halt at X. Each time I crossed X, I took a little breath and said, and halt but continued on to the left turn at E. Then one time, instead of trotting over X, I gave a small a half halt at B and actually halted at X. Speedy listened really well. He had figured out that it was coming.
Speedy is definitely not an upper level dressage horse, but that's not entirely his fault. When I figure out how to do something correctly, he's totally on board and usually asks what took me so long to figure it out. No matter how sloppily I ride the change of lead through trot, he gets the correct lead because he knows his job. I'm sure he'll really appreciate it once I can get a smoother, more collected downward transition.
I keep asking Speedy to have a heart to heart with Izzy. I am not sure if Izzy is just not listening or whether Speedy simply wants me all to himself. The latter is no doubt closer to the truth. For now, I am soaking up the feel good vibes that Speedy is creating for me and trying not to be too discouraged by Izzy's seeming regression.
Patience, Sweaney, patience.
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%