From Endurance to Dressage
Last week I shared this post. I really want to say how touched I was by ALL of your many supportive and friendly comments. Jeez, but you people are nice. Confessing to the world that I am not brilliant at this whole dressage thing turned my day around. Thanks!
As I was reading all of your comments, both here and on Facebook, I was reminded that many of you are not dressage riders. You are reiners, endurance riders, jumpers, or trail riders. Some of you don't even ride which means you might not always know what the heck I am talking about.
When I start a new level, I nearly always have to look up at least one movement. For Second Level, it was The Simple Change. If I had to look it up, it makes sense that others might not know what it is either.
As defined by USDF, "This is a change of lead where the horse is brought back immediately into walk and, after 3 to 5 clearly defined walk steps, is restarted immediately into a canter on the opposite lead with no steps at the trot."
Basically, it's a canter to walk transition with three to five walk steps before cantering on the opposite lead.
What makes this movement so challenging, for us anyway, is that the canter has to be very collected so that the horse is carrying more weight on his hind. Carrying more weight on the hind end is hard for the horse. Think about doing squats. Now imagine holding an armload of something heavy and then squat. Not so easy. Not so easy for the horse either.
When the horse is "sitting" though, he can transition to the walk more easily. With more weight being carried behind, his shoulders are free to move so he can change the bend to prepare for the change of lead.
A tip Chemaine Hurtado, owner and trainer at Symphony Dressage Stables, shared with me was while on counter counter, prepare for the walk by straightening the bend. As the horse transitions to walk, do a shoulder in in the new direction to aid your horse in picking up the new lead.
We can do a very nice simple change right now, but it's not every time. It's not even every other time. Sometimes his haunches swing wide or he flings his head up to keep his balance. I wish I could just practice, practice, practice until we got it right, but if I did that, I'd have a horse with a pretty sore badonkadonk. You try doing squats over and over. No thanks!
So there you have it - the simple change, a misnomer if there ever was one!
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%: