From Endurance to Dressage
Do you ever feel off balance, on your forehand, and on the edge of falling flat on your face? I am there now. I need a bit of a mental half halt.
I am not going to literally fall down, but I am feeling directionless at the moment and don't quite see where I am heading. My show season is over and winter is fast approaching. Winter takes a long time to hit California's Central Valley. I remember this feeling after long seasons of endurance riding, but it usually hit sometime in the late spring or early summer.
In my area, the best endurance riding weather is during the fall, winter, and spring. It's hard to find endurance rides during the summer months since it's so hot. To do any endurance rides in the middle of summer, you usually have to drive a very long way, like two days away. I was never into that long of a drive so my season generally ended by May. That always meant that I faced up to five months before the next race. It was hard to condition my horses when there was no goal to work towards. That's when I would start to feel directionless.
That's how I am feeling now. SInce I am still so new to dressage, I don't just know which shows I will be doing next year. I always knew more or less which endurance races I would go to as many are done the same time year after year with a few new ones thrown in here and there just to keep things interesting.
Last year, I went to a lot of shows and clinics, but I don't know if they are regular, annual events. In fact, I know that some are not. This leaves me feeling a bit at loose ends. I've been checking the CDS calendar, but many of the shows I attended last year are not yet listed. Without a schedule, I am finding it difficult to plan my show year.
On top of that, I really don't know what my 2013 goals should be. Last year, my main goals for the year were to move up to Training Level and qualify for RAAC. I accomplished both things, as well as some extras (I am earning a CDS plate, and I won AA High Point Average from the Tehachapi Mountain Chapter of CDS, but more on that later).
This summer, Hubby and I are going to Belize and Guatemala which means money will be a little tight for showing. Even so, there are a few things I would like to accomplish: the first would be to earn the last two scores for my USDF Training Level Rider Performance Award, small potatoes, I know, but still ... The second would be to not only qualify for the RAAC, but to go and be competitive.
To accomplish these goals, I'll need to go to at least two different USDF shows, and probably more since I might not get the needed scores at either show. The good thing is that if I get my two scores at the USDF shows, I'll also qualify for RAAC. Kill two birds and all that.
The last goal, go to RAAC and be competitive, well, I don't know how to do anything other than what I am already doing: ride regularly, work with my trainer, and read and study as much theory as possible.
One little glitch about qualifying for the RAAC is that RAAC is being held pretty early, July 27 - 28. This means I have to qualify between now and early July. The only winter shows relatively close to me are on the other side of California's infamous Grapevine, which is sporadically closed due to snow and ice. It never stays closed for long, but it would certainly be my luck that it would close on the Friday evening that I was heading into Los Angeles for a show!
So, what to do? Last weekend I researched the show schedule, as incomplete as it is, and came up with a plan. I am hoping to do a schooling show in February to get warmed up but that series isn't posted online yet, so it's still a maybe. After that, I can go to a two-day USDF show in Somis in March which gives me four chances to earn my third score for the USDF thing, and a score for RAAC.
Depending on how we do in March, we could then try to do the same thing in Somis again in April. No matter what, we'll do the USDF show here in Bakersfield in May. If I don't get the two USDF scores after that show, I may just put that goal on the back burner.
No matter if I have the qualifying scores for RAAC or not, I'll still do the first two Tehachapi shows (not USDF-rated, but CDS-rated). If I still haven't earned RAAC scores, this would be pretty much my last chance to qualify.
Depending on how I feel and how much money I have left, I might try the USDF show in Los Angeles in early July. I'd rather do the spring show in Santa Barbara, but since it's not listed in the show calendar yet, I can't really put it in my schedule.
I've posted my "plan" over there on the right. You might have to scroll up or down to find the schedule. I am not sure how ambitious this plan is, and I am not sure I even want to spend the money that it's going to cost to do those USDF shows. I'll keep you posted.
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%: