From Endurance to Dressage
Wednesday's lesson, which was actually on Monday, was really good. I wish I had sat down to write about it while it was still fresh in mind. Going back to work this week has gobbled up quite a lot of my free time. Even though it's been a few days, I do remember the gist of the lesson: WHOA! and GO!
Part one involved only some whoa, and it was done sans yelling, represented by capital letters, italics, and a bold font. JL had me repeat the previous week's lesson, but to the right: planted inside hand and outside pulley rein to halt. We did it at both trot and canter. The next step involved the same level of halt at the trot but without planting the inside rein; I had to just hold that inside rein very steady in the air. It was a bit challenging, but since Speedy was listening to my outside rein, we were successful at that exercise very quickly.
Part two focused on putting all of the pulley rein stuff to work at the canter. Here is how it went: canter, ask for slower pace with the outside rein, no response, pulley halt in two counts or less. When Speedy decided that he didn't like the pulley halt anymore (demonstrated by some rearing which isn't scary on him), we played Race Horse again. When he wasn't responsive enough off my leg, which was most of the time, JL instructed me to make my aids louder, A LOT LOUDER. JL's comment was that she wanted to see his eyes pop in surprise when I asked for the canter. It didn't matter if the lead was right or if he was soft or balanced. She just wanted a sharp response to my leg.
After a lot of cantering (our high was 110℉ that day so the morning was already pretty toasty), the pulley halt started to look pretty good to Speedy so we went back to that. I asked for a nice canter, which he responded to much more quickly (image that), and then I asked for a slower pace with the outside rein. When we finally got it, I switched to rocking the inside rein to get some bend. I rocked BIG at every stride: BEND, BEND, BEND.
By the end of the lesson, JL gave us a 50% for our canter. That wasn't a failing mark, instead, she meant that we were about 50% there on our canter work. The trick for me is to understand when to rock the outside rein, and for how long, before finally shutting him down with it all the way. JL had to tell me when. On my own, I either stopped him too quickly, or let him fuss with me for too long. The other problem is with the inside rein. I fuss with it too much and he curls under, especially to the right.
Our trot work has improved tremendously, and I know our canter work will follow. Going back to work means that the improvement will come more slowly over the next two months, but I know it will come. While it's hot, lessons will continue on Wednesday evenings, but once it cools down we'll move to Mondays. I'll miss the mid-week work; I enjoyed having something to look forward to on Hump 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%: