From Endurance to Dressage
The 2017 USEF Rulebook says The purpose of this exercise is to supple the horse and teach him obedience to the aids.
Don't I know it. That's EXACTLY what I've been using it for.
In this exercise, the inside of the horse is the side from which the horse yields, i.e. the horse is flexed at the poll to the right, which is the inside, when the haunches move to the left.
Theoretically anyway. In reality, there might be some hopping around, pinning of ears, and then a stagger that is mostly in a leftward direction.
The horse moves around the inside front leg. The outside front foot steps forward and around the inside forefoot, which remains active in the sequence of footfalls.
Haha ... I can't tell what that outside front is doing as I am 100% focused on moving the haunches. At this point, we're going for MOVE rather than move correctly.
The hind feet move on a curved line, with the inside hind foot striking the ground in front of the outside hind foot.
Is a zig-zag okay?
I am kidding of course. When Chemaine Hurtado, owner and trainer at Symphony Dressage Stables, was here a few weeks ago, we did some interesting work with the turn on the forehand. It's not an element of any dressage test, but I am finding it to be a great exercise for willful, high energy ponies.
We all know that Izzy isn't the easiest horse to ride, but he's getting there. Before our last lesson, he was actually becoming quite the packer. I knew that wouldn't last, and I was right. With the recent weather, he's been ridden once a week. Of course he's being a jerk.
His sassiness has been coming through as balking and refusing to go forward. Once he does go forward, it's in a giant crow hop accompanied by a rear or a buck. Not exactly how I want to spend an afternoon.
During my last lesson with Chemaine, Izzy was being pretty cantankerous, so Chemaine encouraged me to make him do something, anything, as long as it was my idea. I am a pretty strong rider, but it's tough to let him go forward when he's getting ready to launch. Booting his butt to left or right solves so many problems; it's hard to buck or rear when your hind end is all crossed up.
On Saturday, I lunged him for 10 - 15 minutes because he'd been ridden only once in the past 10 days, and he hadn't been able to get his wiggles out because of the mud. He was a perfect gentleman on the lunge: walk, trot, canter with just the slightest of aids.
I hopped on board hoping for a quiet ride, but Speedy, who was tied to the fence, lost his marbles and starting blowing and waving his tail. I couldn't blame Izzy for going to DEFCON 1 without even a pause. Speedy was certain the Russians were coming, and he wanted Izzy to be prepared.
Izzy humped his back up and gave a slow motion whirl/buck/rear/spin that was worthy of a 10. Since it was so slow, I easily wrangled him back into line and then sent his butt twirling around his front end. It was the second time we've worked on the exercise, and to his credit, he knew what I wanted. In no time at all, he was doing circles around his own front end. Fifteen minutes later we had picked up a canter to the left and were rocking along pretty nicely.
We followed that up with a short walk break and then worked on the right lead canter. Last year at this time, we could not get a right lead canter. Six months ago, we couldn't hold a right lead canter. Now, we can get and hold the lead, but we're working on getting it soft and relaxed. We finished up with a loose inside rein and a big smile on my face.
I foresee a whole bunch more turning on the forehand!
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%: