From Endurance to Dressage
Can I really use the word euphoria when referring to a late afternoon schooling ride? That's truly how I felt when I was done riding on Wednesday evening. I can't even begin to imagine what it must feel like to ride one of those "top" dressage horses like Ravel or Totilas ... I was ecstatic when I got off my Speedy pony after schooling Intro C!
We worked on a true medium walk, or at least the best version I can coax out of him. We also did a long and low free walk at which he's really getting better. Our trot circles are more and more balanced and are closer to being circles ... and 20 meters. I am probably the most proud of Speedy's canter departures. He still pins his ears and gets a bit crow-hoppy about it, but he does make the transition on cue, most of the time. And before I get a lot of his back must be sore, rest assured, he's not hurting, he's just resistant to the whole "when I give the cue thing." And really, this is hard for both of us. Once he starts working more softly, I can get a nice canter transition - like last night. We finished the session with some decent stretchy trot circles. Since we had never even attempted one a month ago, decent is acceptable in my book, at least for now.
That I even "know" what these movements are, makes me feel accomplished. I can't believe how much a team can learn in a year! We worked really hard with a coach in bi-weekly lessons over the summer and then once or twice a month throughout the fall and winter. We've learned a lot about how to get a lot done. Last summer, I couldn't have accomplished a quarter of what what I got from Speedy last night, even with a coach or trainer ... and now, it took us only 25 minutes to get it done ... and I did it alone, without my coach directing.
I love dressage! I know ... a bit goofy, but I do.
I am posting this on Edyta's behalf. She has worked hard to bring a well-respected veterinarian to a local Bakersfield barn in order to serve the many boarders in the area. If you keep your horses at Rancho Rio, Robertston's, or any of the other nearby facilities, this is an excellent opportunity to have some of your horse's most basic health needs taken care of. The attending vet will be vaccinating, cleaning sheaths (check out Speedy's video here), floating teeth (Speedy's last dental visit can be seen here), and more. If you're not sure what vaccinations to give, ask the vet, or watch this short video.
The Golden Empire Arabian Horse Society (GEAHS) is gearing up for its "kind of annual" OPEN dressage show, and since I REALLY want this show to be successful, it had to become a blog topic.
A dressage show organized by an Arabian association confuses many people. I don't ride an Arab. That's okay because it's an OPEN show which means that all breeds are welcome! Dressage riders ride Arabs? YES, a few do, but you probably won't see very many at this show.
I was a volunteer at last year's show and learned a lot by watching. I was the assistant to the bit-checker (there is probably an official title for this job, but I don't know it) who was assisting the Technical Delegate. Not a fancy job. Mine, not the TD's, but I got to listen to the TD explain tack rules as well as a few other things. Assisting the bit checker also gave me a ringside seat and the chance to approach every rider-horse team for a closer look. I took the chance to examine everyone's tack and clothing. I took notes and asked a TON of questions. I am pretty sure the bit-checker thought I was biting off a lot when I told her I would be showing in the next month!
I am really excited about this show for several reasons: it probably won't rain, I don't have to leave at 5:00 a.m. to get there on time, and I actually get to ride this year. And truthfully, it makes me feel proud that I've gone from observer with no show clothes or dressage tack, to an actual competitor who has the right to be there. Can I get a "woot woot" for Speedy G and me?
Hey! Maybe this will be your year to go from observer to competitor!
The show flyer is just below. Use the buttons beneath the flyer to improve the view. The show premium is just under the flyer.
Just got the February issue of Dressage Today. Yeah, I know. A bit late. Not sure what's going on with that. Anywhoo ...
The editor's column has a really timely message ... well, for me anyway! The title of the column is, "How Good is Your Partnership?" Hey! I just blogged about that very idea last week. While the DT column was a good one, it was her closing sentence that really spoke to me. She writes, "I hope all our stories and photos this month inspire you to work with your horse toward a more harmonious partnership."
That's exactly where I feel Speedy G and I have been heading. There are days where we just don't seem to get it ... at all, but there are also days when we make a fabulous connection which can only be called, "a harmonious partnership ..." Monday's ride was like that. I had some great moments where I really felt like I was using my seat well and Speedy G was really going forward into the bit.
I guess I shouldn't be so shocked by the concept of a harmonious partnership. Isn't that what dressage is all about? Connection, relaxation, rhythm ... (we haven't yet arrived at impulsion, straightness, or collection - the top portion of the dressage pyramid of training.)
You can read about it, someone can tell you about it, but until you feel it for yourself, it just doesn't click. Well boy howdy, it's finally starting to CLICK!
In other news ... GEAHS has posted their Bakersfield May show premium here. Check it out!
This is just a schooling show, but the form is just as tedious!
I don't want to jinx myself, but my third attempt at making a show this season is sitting on the counter, ready to be dropped into the morning mail. If it rains at this show, I'll know the gods are sending me some type of message. If they are sending me a message, I wish they'd be just a bit clearer about what they're trying to tell me. It would also be helpful if the message came at least several days BEFORE the show rather than the morning OF the show ... Or at least before I've spent ninety bucks filling up my truck.
Here's the barely-made-it and attempted-to-go list:
Toys for Tots (Clovis) in December - rain, but not cancelled.
Holiday Dressage (Somis) in December - rain, cancelled.
Symphony Dressage (Moorpark) in March - rain, cancelled.
Rancho Royale (Oak View/Ojai) in April - please don't rain!
This was not what I was planning to write about today, but I need some help in praying to the weather gods for pleasant weather on the 10th of April. Any help would be appreciated.
And since I am on the subject of showing, how many of you go to shows by yourselves? I don't really know who reads this blog, so I might not know you. And I have a lot of questions for you. I WANT to know you! Since I live in a VERY non-dressagey community, I only know how I am approaching dressage, but I would sure like to know what other people do.
If you see me at a show, please say hi. I am really looking forward to meeting other dressage riders.
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%
2022 Show Season
(r) Ride-a-Test Clinic
2022 Show Schedule
2022 Completed …
(*) Tehachapi 5/22/22
(*) Tehachapi 7/24/22
(***) Tehachapi 8/28/22
2023 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%:
Score 1: 62.115%