From Endurance to Dressage
I owe Val, of Memoirs of a Horse Girl, a gigantic thank you!
Thank you, Val!
She has been blogging about her (and Harley's) work at the canter. She's also been blogging about trying movements that might be above your horse's current training level. That got me thinking. So, during my Saturday morning ride, I gave something new a try!
Stephen Peters riding Ravel at the 2010 WEG
I feel like I need a disclaimer here. If Stephen Peters wrote about walk to canter transitions, he might use the exact (okay, maybe not exact) words to describe his work. I can guarantee that his descriptive words would include, connected, uphill, soft, lengthen, stretch, etc. So really, I feel silly using those same terms to describe my puny little rides. On the other hand, Speedy's recent work has been beyond all of my expectations. To me, he has become incredibly connected, uphill, and soft! I guess my point is that if you want tips from a pro, there are many out there. If you want to read about someone's journey of discovery, here we are!
Since I am still learning the correct movement of my seat and elbows for the canter, I decided to try a canter transition from the walk. I reasoned that I might get a better feel for the movement my seat needs to make if done from a walk. My reasoning might be faulty, but I think I'm on the right track.
I started Speedy out at a nice supple walk and asked him for softness with good reach from his hind legs. I pictured in my mind a forward inside leg with an outside leg lightly touching his side. My seat would scoop forward and we would canter. And that's what I did. And Speedy ... cantered! It wasn't perfect. He gave a funny shuffle in the back, but then we were cantering. And it was exquisitely soft. We came back to a few trot strides and then walked. He lengthened his neck and stretched deeply. I gathered him back up and repeated the movement several times. He got better each time.
If you would have suggested even two months ago that I would be riding a submissive pony at the canter from the walk, I would have laughed hysterically. And yet, here we are! If this is just a lucky week, I'll take it. If this is the result of two years of hard dressage work, even better. I can't wait to see where we are in two more years. Bring it on!
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%
2022 Show Season
(r) Ride-a-Test Clinic
(Q) Must Qualify
2022 Shows Schedule
(*) Tehachapi 5/22/22
2022 Completed …
2022 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
2 Scores/1 Judges/60%: