From Endurance to Dressage
Some of you might remember that a few years ago, my migraines got so bad that getting out of bed became difficult. As bad as it hurt, I just couldn't quit though. In the spring of that year, Speedy and I made our Second Level debut. I was hurting, and I felt completely out of my depth. On the way to the show, one of my favorite songs came on the radio, and it hit me in all the right places. You can read about that experience here. That song became our song. Whenever I doubted myself, that song reminded me that Speedy had my back.
On Sunday, Izzy and I went to a small, USDF show put on by my local CDS Chapter. Over the past few months, It has become clear that while he is not easy to ride, I've been part of the problem, too. Last month's show painted a very clear picture; I haven't been "riding" my horse. I've been sitting there, frozen solid, worried that I'll upset Izzy and cause a blow up. My take-away from that show was that I had better get my ducks in a row and find a way around that inability to relax while showing.
For me, awareness of an issue will nearly always fix whatever's wrong. I needed to work on it of course, but I can now say that I rode my horse on Sunday. It didn't come without some hard work though. Along with a bit of money spent and a fortuitous radio moment, I think I am once again riding while showing.
Working weekly with Sean Cunningham, owner and trainer at STC Dressage, had a lot to do with it. He's been after me for the past year to quit worrying about scores and instead focus on my riding. He finally got through to me. To help, I also bought a new pair of Esprit Equestrian breeches; they look like breeches, but they're actually tights. My hope was that by riding in something less restrictive than breeches, I might feel more relaxed. I was right; I did.
As for the radio moment, I had just left the barn with Izzy loaded up and an hour drive ahead of me. I refused to feel stressed out for the entire drive, so I turned up the radio and waited for something inspiring to play. Almost immediately another favorite song came at just the right moment. It was a Dan + Shay number, a duo that always speaks to my heart. Part of the lyrics go like this:
I got you for the rest of my days
In the sun on Sunday morning or the pouring rain
'Cause I got you for the rest of my life
And if all else goes wrong, baby, I'll be alright
'Cause I got you
Speedy always had my back, and I knew that he would always bring his A game. Izzy can't do that, but hearing that song inspired me to tell Izzy that I got you! For the entire warm up and again during the test, I kept telling him "it was going to be okay, because I got you." And equally important for me was that if it went all wrong, I'll be alright.
Part 2 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%: