From Endurance to Dressage
I hate to tempt the universe, but I just have to go ahead and say it: Izzy has been freaking AWESOME this past week or so.
We all know he has his moments. Most of them tend to be not-so-brilliant, but those are quickly becoming less frequent. Okay, maybe more like 50/50. But when he has good moments, they are getting really good.
Over the weekend, he gave me two amazing rides in a row. Yes, IN A ROW! On the first day, the UPS truck pulled in, turned around, pulled out, and basically tried to ruin my ride. Izzy didn't even bat an eye. In fact, he gave me the best connection I have ever felt from him.
As we were trotting around, I just kept asking him to keep his head down. And while he was at it, I asked him to carry the bit at the same time. And then he DID! And it wasn't just for one stride either. All of a sudden, I felt him take the bit gently as he softened through the neck and lifted his back. We trucked around for at least half a circle, totally connected and bouncy. And then of course he lost his balance a bit, but then he was back with me.
The next day, the ranch owner walked by while I was warming up, and then the neighbor came by a minute or two later. Just a month ago, that would have sent Izzy over the edge. I gave him a warning, and after a quick think, Izzy decided that his life is much more comfortable when he lets me do the thinking. We went on to have another great ride.
Since I ride Speedy through the various movements of Second Level, I've decided to be more specific with Izzy as well. For so long it's felt like our rides were more about steering. Could I keep him more or less in a circle or straight down the long side without a leap to the left or right? Now, I am choosing specific movements from Training Level through Second (and even some from Third).
From Training Level, we're doing the canter work: pick up the canter in the corner, circle at B/E, and cross the diagonal with a transition at X. From First Level, we're doing all of the leg yields. From Second Level, we're doing shoulder in and travers. And believe it or not, we even fool around with Third Level's renvers which he finds stupidly easily - in fact I can send his haunches back and forth at will. The other day, we actually did a trot half pass across the entire arena. He was high as a kite and didn't realize what was happening, but he did it so easily.
My winter break is over which means he won't get ridden every day like he was. Hopefully we made enough progress over these past few weeks that 4 - 5 days of riding a week will be enough to keep him happy.
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 Second Level. 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%
2021 Show Season
(r) Ride-a-Test Clinic
(Q) Must Qualify
2021 Pending …
2021 Completed …
10/24-25 SCEC (***)
11/7-11/8 SB (***)
2021 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
2nd Level Qualifying
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%:
Score 1: 60.610% Bhathal
2nd Level Qualifying
5 Scores/4 Judges/61%:
Stuff I Read