From Endurance to Dressage
When I first bought Speedy G as a three-year old, he had some of the typical fears that you'll see in a baby. He was also pushy and disobedient. I can't have horses with poor ground manners. I am just not big enough to withstand 1,000 or more pounds crashing into me. And even if I was 6'3" and weighed 200 pounds, I wouldn't stand for it. So Speedy G got some lessons in ground work. Lots of them.
I really like many of the Natural Horsemanship ideas. Not all of them, but much of that work is very helpful. I particularly like Clinton Anderson's stuff. His explanations make sense and seem to have a purpose. One of the things he says is, Give your horse a heart attack. They're free. What he means is, don't pussy-foot around doing everything gingerly. Do what you need to do and eventually your horse horse will come around. If we always worry about scaring our horses, they'll always be scared. That makes sense to me.
Speedy G was nervous about a lot of things: plastic bags, flinging stuff, quick movements, tacking up, noise from behind, etc. And his solution to all of these scary things was to jump in my lap. Well that wasn't going to work. My solution was to teach him that none of that stuff was going to get him and even if he was scared, he wasn't allowed to jump onto me ... ever! We started to play with the whip. I didn't want to use a lunge line because I wanted him to see me as part of his solution. I wanted him to learn to focus on where I was at all times. So we free lunged. The video below is some of what he learned by playing around with the whip.
As you watch, keep in mind that we haven't played these games seriously in more than a year. We're a little rusty, but it's still fun to play sometimes, and Speedy G really enjoys it when I bring out the whip and play with him in the arena. You might think he looks cranky in the video, but I know he is trying to beat me which in his mind is get the answer right really fast! The look on his face is one of concentration.
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%: