From Endurance to Dressage
Use the Energy
What with all that's happening in the world right now, I am having trouble remembering what day it is. So when I say I had a lesson a week or so ago, it might have been two weeks or three days ago. I am not sure. A few weeks before that, I had a lesson, and in that one, we worked on getting Speedy's hind end very active. When we started this most recent lesson, my first question was how to use that new hind end energy.
Chemaine Hurtado, owner and trainer at Symphony Dressage Stables, nearly clapped her hands in excitement. I think she'd thought I'd never ask. Right away, she had me get Speedy going. When I had trouble knowing how much to get him going or what get him going even looked like, she use the word excited. Get him excited. Oh, okay.
It sounded easy, but it wasn't. I just wasn't really feeling what she was asking me to do. Basically, she wanted me to build up the energy in his hind legs without letting it leak out through his front end. Then, we took that energy and used it in the shoulder in and half pass. When he felt too quick or heavy in the front end, she wanted me to use the half halt to tell his front end to slow down so that his hind end could catch up. When I kept him "short" front to back, he could carry and push more effectively from behind.
The videos have excellent sound, so you can hear Chemaine explaining it better than I can. And because I am nothing if not honest, you can see my struggle for yourself. We have some really pretty moments here, but some of them are not so pretty.
At the end of the second video, we got some really nice medium trot. Speedy loves that movement and tries his heart out. This is probably some of the longest reach he's ever given me. I have never been able to capture a photo of him with so much extension. When I first looked at the image below, I thought his hind end was not nearly engaged enough, so I did a little drawing.
The two yellow lines are exact matches. I drew a yellow line on his front leg first. Then I copied it and pasted it to the hind leg without making any changes in the length or angle of the line. I did the same thing with the purple lines. The lines show that his legs are moving nearly parallel with one another. The outside hind (yellow) could use a little more angle in his hocks, but otherwise, he's pretty even.
Here's another shot a stride or two later.
This year's show season may be not what we all had hoped for, but I just figure that I am using this time to get better and better. By the time we can show again, we'll have no problem getting the scores we need.
There's always a silver lining.
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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%: