From Endurance to Dressage
Winter finally made it to California, and with it, so did Izzy's "sillies." The good thing is that he's no longer a jackass. A few days ago, he came out of his field with his skin on fire, coiled up like a spring. Rather than fight through it, I walked him over the round pen and let him work it out in there.
My first reaction was to be annoyed. REALLY ANNOYED. I found myself saying, "Oh, great, here we go again." But then I realized that the complete jackassery of years past was nowhere to be seen. Instead of bolting and launching himself into the air, he was just spooky, looky, and twitchy. I can live with that.
This horse likes cold weather. He doesn't hate the heat, but it definitely takes away all of his sillies. I can barely get him moving in the summer. Once that mercury drops though, his energy level sky rockets. If I give him a day or two off, he practically vibrates.
As he's become more educated, me too for that matter, he's much easier to redirect. Now that I can get him off his forehand, I can add leg. Just the other day I felt him sucking back a little, and my first reaction was to take my leg off. Just as suddenly, I thought to myself, "Uh-huh, mister. My leg is going on!" Now, he knows what a "frame" is, he knows how to carry himself, and he knows that I am going to push him forward into the bridle. And he can deal with it.
He's a lot more fun to ride this winter than he's ever been before. When he wants to lean on my hands, I now have a way to encourage him to shift his weight back. With lateral flexion and a firm inside leg, I can push him forward until HE decides to soften his poll and neck. It works like magic. When he softens, I straighten him a bit and send him forward. As soon as he braces, I flex him, firm up my inside leg, and drive him forward into the outside rein.
Sometimes that's all I get to work on, like last night, but that's fine because in the long run, it's all about the quality of the connection anyway. Our journey is anything but linear. With this horse, we spiral around and around, all the time getting more and more educated.
We're Not-So-Speedy Dressage for a reason.
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 Second Level. 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%
2021 Show Season
(r) Ride-a-Test Clinic
(Q) Must Qualify
2021 Pending …
2021 Completed …
10/24-25 SCEC (***)
11/7-11/8 SB (***)
2021 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
2nd Level Qualifying
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%:
Score 1: 60.610% Bhathal
2nd Level Qualifying
5 Scores/4 Judges/61%:
Stuff I Read