From Endurance to Dressage
This Sunday, Speedy and I made the short trek to Tehachapi to show at a CDS-rated show hosted by my own CDS Chapter. We earned a 63% (and change) at Third Level!
Some of you already know how hard I am on myself. On the one hand, I am ridiculously giddy with glee. On the other, much larger hand, I am sitting here wondering if the judge had something in her eye as she watched me ride because 63% is a score I'll always be quite happy with but will never think we've earned.
About 10 seconds after seeing my score, I started beating myself up as I agreed with the 4 for the walk to canter but disregarded the two 7s for the flying changes. It's just so much easier to believe in the weak aspects of the ride than it is to accept the strong ones. We had 12 scores of 7.0 or 7.5. What more can I ask for? My trainer, Chemaine Hurtado - owner and trainer at Symphony Dressage Stables, is no doubt tired of trying to cheer me up when we do well. I am working on it, Chemaine, I am working on it!
While the score was not earned at a USDF-rated show, the judges at this particular CDS show series are notorious for being tough. I nearly always score better at USDF-rated shows than I do at this summer series. I decided that my effort deserved the score rather than just feeling that we got lucky.
During the warm up, a friend whom I haven't seen in ages, noted that Speedy was really carrying himself. I laughed and told her that I still feel like that struggling Introductory Level rider. Every level is a struggle, so it never feels as though we've "arrived!" Of course, I used to think that riders in levels above me were out there having a grand old time on their perfectly behaved, push-button horses. HAHAHA! Good thing the Intro Level me didn't know how much work it was going to be. If anything, it's just gotten harder.
This test was far from perfect, but after watching the video, I gave myself a little pat on the back. We're probably never going to kill it at Third Level, or Fourth, or ... , but we belong right where are. Without being in full training, I don't have the luxury of schooling a level above where I am showing. I need help with the movements that I am showing right now. And each time I show them, they'll get better and better.
So what scored well? The shoulder-in to start. Both of them earned a 7.0. We earned 3 scores of 7.5 - medium trot, rein back, and the left turn on the haunches. The rein back has a double coefficient so that made up for the 5.0 on our half pass right.
The best score though was for our flying changes. We earned 7.0s for both of them, and those also have a double coefficient. The judge noted that they were both clean. She didn't note their exuberance, something I am still working on, but clean is what matters.
So what didn't go so well? The right lead canter has always been a bit of a pebble in my shoe, a pain in my butt, and our achilles heel. I schooled that flippin' walk to canter at F and C a bazillion times. I remembered to look to the inside and get the inside bend, but Speedy still picked up the LEFT lead at C. Booger. So in the corner, I tried again, and again. By this point we were at M where the medium canter had to start, so I got the lead and then tried to rocket him from a walk to a medium canter. I wouldn't recommend that strategy.
It came as no surprise that we scored a 4 for that walk to canter transition, which was more than generous. And since I didn't get to set it up correctly, thanks a lot, dude, our medium canter also took a hit earning a 5.0. Thankfully neither of those movements carries a coefficient. Those two scores, combined with a previous 5.0 for the half pass right, were the only scores under 6.0 on the entire test.
I always try to learn something from each test and show. I had no huge AHA moments like from the show the weekend before - BEND YOUR HORSE and WATCH THE LETTERS, but the judge made an interesting comment on this first test. On the collective marks for Rider's Position and Seat, she wrote, Nice position, show more confidence. First of all, I never get positive comments on my position so that was incredibly nice to hear. Do I need more confidence? I would say that is spot on. I'll work on it, Judge.
I'll work on getting Test 2 written up for tomorrow. In the meantime, here's the video of our first test. That rowdy flying change comes at about 5:45 if you want to skip the boring stuff.
We're getting there even though "there" keeps moving. Dressage is a funny sport!
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%: