From Endurance to Dressage
Sunday was a great day, and not just because it was Speedy's birthday. As much as I tried to get him excited about it, he seemed to treat it just like every other day.
The winter storms from the day before finally passed, and the footing was absolutely perfect. Both boys got ridden and barn chores got completed. So what made it such a great day? Several things actually.
When I turn Sydney out, there's always a lot of frantic and wild galloping. And I mean W-I-L-D. That boy can move! On Sunday, as I was cleaning his stall, I didn't hear the thundering of hooves that I was expecting. Instead, I head trot, trot, trotting hooves. Who could that be? I thought to myself. I peeked around the corner and was pleasantly surprised to see Sydney simply trotting around the arena in a rather relaxed frame. Weird! I was slightly worried so I went out to see if something was wrong. Nope. He was just not feeling the need to rip around.
As soon as I ducked under the fence, he came right up to me and nosed around for treats. He was relaxed and very happy. This was a good thing. I decided to try a version of the tag game that Speedy and I play. In Speedy's version, we chase each other quite actively with lots of quick turns and slamming on the brakes. It's quite fun, but I didn't think Sydney was ready for that version of the game. For him, I simply played follow the leader. I stood at his shoulder and walked off briskly. Like a good pony, he fell in step behind be. I quickened my pace, and he followed suit. I gave a a few clucks and trot off. To my surprise, he picked up the trot and jogged along happily behind, I turned left and he followed. I turned right and again, he was right there with me. I gave a soft whoa! and stopped. A stride later, a surprised Sydney stopped and turned to face me. A treat was quickly offered.
We repeated the trot off, turn here and there, and then whoa! for several minutes. Sydney got better and better at the halt. This was the first time that he's been in the arena and really looked at me. We followed all of this up with an excellent ride, and then I even hacked him up and down the neighborhood road for a few minutes. I went as far as he was comfortable and then turned back and went the other way. He was anxious about leaving the barn area, but I stopped to graze along the way and gave him lots of good boy pats. It was one of the best riding days we've had in a long while. I think my last lesson with JL really helped me get control of not only Sydney's body, but of his mind as well. He seemed much more trusting on Sunday.
I think Sunday was definitely a two steps forward kind of day!
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%: