From Endurance to Dressage
Sunday's demo was my favorite of the weekend. On Friday, Chemaine helped us get the horses rounder and softer. On Saturday, she put them to work. By Sunday, I could feel that Speedy was almost as tuned up as if she had ridden him herself. There's also something to be said for riding with an instructor three days in a row. Talk about getting a lot of bang for your buck!
Chemaine started us out with the same 1-2-3-4, walk to trot, and trot into a half halt exercises that we'd done the first two days.
Then, she had us work on collecting and lengthening the stride at both the trot and canter. This is an exercise that would be pretty easy to do at home. She put two cones on each long side in about the same place as K-H and F-M if we'd have had a short court. If you have a dressage court, you would just use the letters.
She had us do a nice, working trot as she counted the strides between the two cones. When we came to the next long side, she wanted us to get the same number of strides. This is one way to check that you have a steady tempo. It's harder than it sounds!
Once we had established a steady tempo and rhythm, she asked us to lengthen the stride to see how few we needed to get from one cone to the next. As you would expect, Speedy broke into a canter the first time or two because I was hoping for a big stride right away. I got greedy.
Then she reminded me about asking for big, bigger, biggest. And of course with her coaching, we got a nice lengthening with fewer strides than at the working trot. This exercise will show whether your horse is just going faster, or truly lengthening the stride.
Then we did it at the canter. As Chemaine counted strides, she challenged me to get as few as possible and then as many as possible.
As we yo-yoed between a lengthened stride and a collected stride, we were able to go from 5 long strides to 10 short strides! This exercise is definitely one that I am going to be using at home.
Traveling to Sacramento and riding all three days was really tiring - I am still recovering actually, but it was so worth the effort. I really learned a lot from Chemaine and am now looking forward to next weekend's show in Tehachapi. Chemaine reminded me a few times during the demos that I need to ride Speedy with a Second Level trot. When I do, I know our scores will only improve, and we'll get closer and closer to actually showing a Second Level Test.
And now, we're back to our normal routine!
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%: