From Endurance to Dressage
... Besides renew your car insurance. When it comes to horses, the answer is usually not much. Speedy's a fun horse to ride because it doesn't take a lot to get him warmed up. He's very active throughout the night, and by mid-afternoon he starts pacing as he waits for me. That all means that I can usually get right to work without a lengthy warm up.
It seems that every time I start to doubt Speedy, like I sort of did yesterday, he comes out roaring to prove me wrong. Monday afternoon was the third day in a row that he had been worked. That's about his limit. He starts getting grouchy with too many consecutive days of work. He feels like I am picking on him. My plan for the day was to quickly revisit the outside connection created by inside flexion and then be done.
Since that recent epiphany I had, I've been ultra picky about feeling the outside connection while keeping him even in my hand. It's a work in progress, but I'm feeling positive effects, especially in the lateral work. So, I did a bunch of right/left flexions and then transitions within the gait.
I read an interesting article by Hilda Gurney that had been reprinted from the 1970s. In it, she explained that if a horse ignores your half halt, halt him all the way several times so that he learns to listen to the half halt. I did two or three of those, and suddenly I had a more forward, energetic horse that was (mostly) even between the reins.
Speedy readily picked up a canter, and after a quick come to Jesus meeting about the near corner, he decided that it was better to be soft in the bridle. Without a lot of fuss, we crossed the diagonal, and I asked for a flying change. He gave it without too much drama so I continued on in the new lead and then decided to ask for the other one.
I haven't done this yet as I am always too busy praising him for the first one to even think about asking for another one. Even so, we circled around and crossed the diagonal again where I had to tell him to wait for the new canter aid. He gets pretty ramped up about it and wants to just get it done as soon as he thinks that's what I want.
Even with a bit of rushing, he still gave me a clean change that didn't involve a bolt or a buck. I glanced down at my watch and realized that in only 15 minutes, Speedy had far exceeded what I wanted to accomplish that day. I hopped off of him, and slipped him some candies. He knew I was proud of him.
Take that GEICO; that is what I can do in 15 minutes!
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%: