From Endurance to Dressage
I am so glad to have someone riding Speedy again. I keep saying this, but teaching someone else really helps me to focus on my own learning. When Brooke came out on Saturday, I had no idea what we would work on, but since she's a pretty solid rider, I've had to fast forward quite a bit. The one thing she has needed very little coaching on is getting Speedy rounder. He may not be coming through behind very well, but at least she is keeping him pretty well put together even after just three or four lessons.
The two things that I notice when she's riding is that she isn't yet following with her elbows, and she is still struggling with sitting on her seat bones and allowing her legs to hang. This is rather funny as I struggle with the exact same things. I am getting better of course, but since Izzy gets so braced there often isn't any motion to follow. I know that if I lock up my arms he won't unlock his neck, so I do my best to follow whatever motion he does offer.
Because Speedy was back to his quiet self - the week before he had a bit of spring fever, we actually had to do some transitions to wake him up. I also quickly saw that transitions helped Brooke as well because they gave her a chance to rebalance herself. In the walk to trot to walk transitions, Brooke was able to work on choosing the correct posting diagonal. She knows how to do a rising trot, but she can't yet feel which diagonal she is on. I gave her two tips.
First, I suggested that she not start posting immediately. It is okay to sit a few strides until you find the rhythm. Second, I taught her to look at the outside shoulder to determine when she should rise. When the outside shoulder is forward, the rider should be in the up phase of the posing trot. Each time I saw her on the wrong diagonal, I would tell her to check the outside shoulder. She could always find the fix, but it is a feel that she will need to develop. As a side note, Speedy is a saint. Every time she needed to take her focus off of steering to watch her diagonal, he trotted around on autopilot until she was back to riding.
After enough walk to trot transitions, we moved on to some canter work. Brooke has a great feel, so she has been able to get nice canter transitions. It also helps that Speedy is such a rock star. He always rewards a correct ask with a correct answer. Since Brooke is still working to find a more independent seat, I had her do canter to trot to canter transitions. In the canter, she is still working on sitting to the inside so that she can ride from her inside leg to outside rein. So, with trying to follow in the canter, sit to the inside, turn her shoulders, and keep Speedy together, she appreciated the canter to trot. For the trot steps, she was able to rebalance her own body and then send Speedy back to the canter. Again, he is a rock star.
I am sure I've mentioned this before, but if not, Brooke is a triathlete. She actively trains for her sport weekly. The week before, she went and did a run after her lesson. This week, she was doing a serious bike ride. She mentioned something about hoping to get ... 30? ... 40? ... 50? miles in. I got lost on the the double digit number, so I didn't get quite how far she and her friends intended to ride. After I rode, I went home and binged Locke & Key on Netflix.
Both of us are working on our "weight" aids. I think Brooke is well ahead of me!
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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%: