From Endurance to Dressage
I've mentioned this about a million times before, but Bakersfield is the biggest small town you'll ever find. With a population of about 350,000, we rank as California's ninth largest city. In a state with 40,000,000 people, that puts nearly 10% of the state's population in my backyard.
With those kind of numbers, you'd think that dressage would be somewhat represented. You'd be wrong. Bakersfield feels like a town of more like 35,000; too small for the glamour of piaffe and passage. Great food and friendly people, but dressage oriented we are not.
For several years, I've been putting on what I like to call Casual Clinics with Chemaine Hurtado, owner and trainer at Symphony Dressage Stables. Based in Moorpark, Chemaine has been willing to make the trek to Bakersfield. The purpose has always been to introduce dressage to riders of all disciplines. I am preaching to the choir here, I know, but dressage benefits all horses. It's been tough to get riders to come on board, but our group has slowly grown.
This weekend, we had a great turnout. We had lots of friends show up to audit, and it finally felt as though riders from different disciplines were connecting and coming together as a community. The Golden Empire Arabian Horse Society is once again putting on an Open Dressage Show on March 18th. The show's manager and several members of the show committee were there. In no time at all, great ideas started flying.
The weather was beautiful (bummer as we need the rain), and everyone really seemed to have a great time.
One of the things that I love about our clinics is how "user-friendly" Chemaine is as a trainer. She very often will get on your horse (if you'd like) and work on something for you. She usually gets on at least one of my boys each time she comes.
For the last clinic we held, our lunch time break included a yoga ball lesson. This time, Chemaine treated us to a musical freestyle.
Since the GEAHS's show is small and filled with nearly all lower level riders, the show committee came out to watch Chemaine's freestyle with an eye to adding it to the show as a lunch time attraction.
The afternoon concluded with the neighbor once again riding Willy, but her 13 year-old niece joined in making it a group lesson.
I always try to ride Izzy at the end of the day as most people have cleared out by then. I missed out on the great photos, but it was nice to have a quiet lesson.
We have a second February clinic scheduled for the 19th, and dates in the works for March. If you're somewhat local and want to join in, give me a holler. We'd love to have you!
More tomorrow ...
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%: