From Endurance to Dressage
Another Slice of Humble Pie
I write for a lot of different reasons. I write to teach. I don't just teach elementary school; it's who I am as a person, so writing allows me to share what I know and have learned. I also like to write about particularly useful products or great sales; it's fun to pass that stuff around. I also like turning my disappointments into funny stories. When I tell on myself, someone out there thinks, hey, I am not alone on the struggle bus. And suddenly, we're all on a party bus headed to Vegas.
All of that lends itself to entertaining content - I hope anyway, but the real reason I write is to articulate my learning to myself. While owning and showing horses is great fun, I am determined to do more than just have a good time. I want to be better, I want to ride better, and I want to get all the way to the top. Writing my thoughts down helps me organize my learning, and it forces me to self-evaluate where I am as a rider.
Last week, I wrote this line, Instead of feeling like I am stuck at Training Level, I now see the basics as an avenue for helping Izzy instead of holding me back. As soon as I wrote that line, I realized what the truth was. The real truth is that I have spent this past year and a half feeling like Izzy is holding me back, like he is the reason I am not to Fourth Level yet.
That realization was like a punch to the gut. Oof. If anyone is holding anyone back, it is so obviously me that I can't believe I didn't see it sooner. Izzy has four sound legs and oodles of natural ability. He's not holding anyone back from succeeding. If he had a more knowledgeable rider, he'd have passed Fourth Level long ago. Instead, he's the one stuck at the lower levels with me as his rider.
You would think that realizing I am the weakest link in our chain would be depressing and demoralizing, but it actually has the opposite effect. I can't change Izzy, but I can certainly change myself. I can get better, and in fact, I am doing so every single day. Each week when I ride with Sean Cunningham, owner and trainer at STC Dressage, I see evidence of my progress. And I am not the only one. Sean sees it too. If I want to get to Fourth Level, I have to work harder. That's all there is to it. It's not Izzy's fault that we're not there, and now that I get that, the path forward seems wide open.
Regular servings of humble pie do a body good!
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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%: