From Endurance to Dressage
Since I quit trying to ride both boys every day, it sometimes feels like I never ride at all. I ride every day of course, but each boy goes out every other day which means they only get three to four rides a week each, and that's if I don't miss a barn day.
Izzy doesn't always come out of his stall ready to work on my agenda; he sometimes has an agenda of his own. That's what happened last Tuesday. I really wanted to work on the right lead canter since I hadn't been able to work on it since our lesson three weeks ago (we were out of town the weekend before last). He was simply too distracted. Instead we schooled the left lead and worked on changes of direction.
On Thursday, I was on a totally different horse. He was actually feeling a bit lazy and required a pony club kick to get a trot.
I hadn't planned on starting with a right lead canter, but as I put him together tracking right at the trot, I could feel that it was in there. I straightened his shoulders, moved my inside hip forward, and put my outside leg back. Without missing a beat, Izzy picked up a right lead canter and held it!
If you haven't been following our struggle with the right lead canter, you can watch the video that I shared last week.
We didn't make any kind of circle, and my half halts weren't getting through, so we ended up careening around the arena a few times as I vainly tried to get his neck to move. As long as I kept him counter bent, he held the lead, but that's not a long term solution. We picked up the lead several times and held it, but he was stuck on his forehand.
I brought him back to a walk and told him how awesome he is. We then worked on the left lead canter of which he is quite proud. That gave him some confidence and made him feel like he was pretty hot stuff. We tok another walk break and then went back to the right. To my delight, he easily picked up a right lead canter that actually had a bend. We even made a 20 meter circle or two and both lived to tell about it.
I brought him back to walk and praised him like he'd just won gold. I called it a day with that. I use a chronometer when I ride to keep myself from riding too long. A 30 minute ride means we got the job done. Longer, and I know we struggled. This ride took us 24 minutes - I was thrilled with how quickly he settled and got the job done.
I am hoping that switch clicked - maybe we've installed a right lead canter!
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%: