From Endurance to Dressage
I am sure most of you will disagree with me, especially if you don't live in California and aren't members of CDS. But here goes - US Equestrian, I want a refund.
Up until this year, membership with USEF was $55 a year. I was never excited to send them half a Benjamin, but I figured it was part of the game; showing isn't cheap. This year, USEF raised their rate to $80 a year. That hurt. My USEF membership is now my most costly membership, and I get nothing tangible for those 80 bucks.
Like I said, a lot of you are getting ready to itemize all of the many ways that US Equestrian makes it possible for me to show. It kind of reminds me of the scene were Miranda so cheekily explains where Andy's cerulean blue sweater came from.
I get it; I really do. Rulebooks need to be maintained and updated. Horses needed to be registered and followed. Points need to be recorded. Awards need to be distributed. New members need to be brought into the fold. I grinched about the 45% increase, but I paid it.
This past week though, I got the newest edition of US Equestrian, the official magazine of the United States Equestrian Federation. My level of irritation rose from mild to are you kidding?!?!
Let me explain.
I am a member of the California Dressage Society, a Group Member Organization of the United States Dressage Federation. My annual membership is $70. For that fee, I am eligible to participate in various programs and earn numerous awards. And I do participate.
I've twice been selected by my CDS Chapter to ride in the CDS Adult Amateur Clinic - my chapter paid the clinic fee. I've shown at the CDS Regional Adult Amateur Competition more times than I can count. Speedy and I have won twice and been reserve champion once. We have two coolers and a leather halter to show for our efforts. Each year, Speedy and I have earned a "plate" to add to our plaque. And this year, we earned our scores for the CDS Ruby Award which we'll get in the fall.
A portion of my CDS membership fee goes to USDF which also offers a number of awards programs in which I participate. As of 2018, I've earned Rider Performance Awards at Training and First Levels, and with a little luck, I might get my Second Level award at the end of this show season. Once that's done, I'll set my sights on a Bronze Medal.
What do I get from US Equestrian? I get to be an Adult Amateur and ... I get this glossy magazine that now sports a trendy new textured cover. Glossy must have looked cheap. Not only that, but this month I got a 30 inch long foldout on heavy duty paper lauding the member benefits that my $80 get me.
There is a Learning Center (already get that with USDF), the USEF Network (I am not much of a TV watcher), the magazine and Equestrian Weekly which shares US Equestrian articles (redundant?), 120 National Championships, and International Team Development. How about no, nope, too expensive, and did I mention NO?
And to top it off, in bright red letters, US Equestrian included their current count - a community of over 105,000 members. I did the math; that's in excess of 4 million dollars in membership fees. And I didn't even count how much more they get as members pay to have horses registered.
I know it's probably a case of sour grapes, but I resent paying so much to an organization that gives me so little in return. I am just a small time adult amateur trying to have a little fun. I would think that instead of pumping even more money into the cost of publishing their magazine, US Equestrian might think of a small atta girl to help me see the benefits of joining. Even USDF sends me a sticker every year.
Right now, I'm looking at all this print media thinking I'd like a refund. Where's the recycle bin?
The other day I told you about the Horze Juliet Hyper Flex Full Seat Tights. I am still just as happy with them. In fact, I am wearing them to work today with a particularly loud pair of Over the Calf Peddies from Noble Outfitters. Today is "crazy sock day" at school. I'm topping the whole thing off with a school t-shirt. It's great to work someplace where offbeat attire is expected.
You've heard me go on and on about my sock preference, see above. I pretty much wear Noble Outfitters Over the Calf Peddies to the exclusion of all else. They're the first socks that I've found that can stand up to my super destructive, but neatly pedicured, toenails. They also stay up.
Every once in a while though, a new sock will tempt me. The C4 socks are still in my rotation; they're not my favorites, but they made the cut. The Stance Compression Tall Boot Socks from the Riding Warehouse sounded interesting enough that I caved and decided to try them.
From the Riding Warehouse ...
Perfect to wear on the ground or in the irons, these socks feature air channeled cushioning for cooling comfort. The anatomically correct footbeds contour to your feet, ensuring customized support. A reinforced heel and toe offer durability for the long trek ahead and the sweat-wicking, breathable mesh material keeps feet going strong. Cut in a tall boot length, these socks are the perfect addition to any equestrian's sock drawer.
They're not kidding. These are pretty high tech socks. When I really want to see how well a product will perform, I like to wear it several days in a row doing my normal stuff without washing in between. These socks exceeded my expectations.
What I really liked about them was that they retained their shape and never got saggy even after wearing them for several days. My Over the Calf Peddies can't do that. The Stance socks had just as much compression on the third day as they had on the first. I wore them at a two-day show and found that my feet were less tired and a lot less sweaty than with my Noble Outfitters.
There really wasn't anything that I didn't like about these socks. I will say that they are snug going on, but once you have them on, they compress in a friendly way. The only thing that will keep me from loading up on these socks is the price. At $25.88 a pair, I am not willing to buy more than a pair a year. The two pair that I do have are being reserved for shows only.
I'm going to be on the lookout for sales or discounts though; I liked them that much. Here's to "crazy sock" day!
A week or so ago I shared a post about Izzy's sire line. I had photos from several generations of grandsires, but I was missing a photo of Izzy's dad. I knew someone would be able to help, and sure enough my super techy friend, Mia, delivered. Many thanks to her for finding pictures of Inbegriff, Izzy's sire.
So here they are again, this time with all the boys pictured.
While not the worst photo ever, it certainly doesn't show him looking his best, especially lined up alongside his very handsome family. I definitely need to work on getting a more attractive conformation shot.
Thanks, Mia! Now I know what Inbegriff looks like.
Back when I was endurance riding, I only wore tights. And frankly, the shinier and louder they were, the better.
I also needed them to be fairly cheap as they took a beating.
Once I moved on to dressage, I realized that my loud and weird-colored tights looked out of place in a dressage court. I switched to sensibly colored breeches and simply endured them during our brutally hot summers. No more.
A few weeks ago, I discovered the Horze Juliet HyPer Flex Full Seat Tights from the Riding Warehouse. As soon as I put them on, I knew they were a winner. These things are much nicer than the tights I wore when endurance riding.
They actually felt like yoga pants. They were stretchy in all the right places without being baggy. I find that stretchy stuff tends to get stretched out. I figured the same thing would happen to the Hyper Flex Full Seats so I gave them a thorough test. I rode in them (and did barn chores) three days in a row on some pretty warm days.
Each day that I scooped them off the floor, they fit snugly without bagging behind the knees like some tights will do. Not these babies. They kept their stretch and maintained their original shape. On top of being comfortable, they also kept me much cooler and drier.
Lately, it seems as though all of the breeches I look at have a silicone seat. I haven't been very interested in trying them out. I've touched a few pairs of them, and they seemed really sticky. Recently, a friend was wearing a pair, and I asked her how she liked them. She felt like they were so sticky that her pants stuck to the saddle so much that she was left sliding around on top of them. Uh, no thanks.
I worried that the silicone on the Hyper Flex tights would have that same sticky feel to them. If you're looking for super grip, these aren't for you. The silicone on these tights feels more like suede rather than the plasticky stuff you sometimes see with silicone.
The first time I rode in them, I sat in the saddle with a bit of trepidation. I was concerned that they would mar the leather of my saddle. The second my butt hit the saddle, I completely forgot that I was wearing them until I hopped off. The silicone was never an issue.
There were two things about them that I wish could be changed. First, they are a bit of a high rise; they sit over my belly button. Frankly, with the extra fluffiness of my middle, it's probably good that they're keeping everything in place. Secondly, they only have one of those mini pockets on the inside. While I do barn chores, I like to shove my phone in a back pocket. These don't have a pocket. I don't hold it against them though as most tights don't usually have pockets.
I am definitely ordering at least one more pair of these, and probably two. They come in black, green, and gray. Riding Warehouse sells them for $59.95, but I always have a discount code that will knock them down to at least $50.95 which still gets me free shipping.
Since it's already in the mid-90s here, these tights are getting moved to the front of the rotation. I better get another pair soon!
Well, we finally made it to a USDF show at Second Level. It was a week or two ago, but as you know, I haven't been feeling my best. Here's the quick version of what happened.
There is a spoiler alert though - we weren't fabulous. We were barely mediocre. On Saturday, we earned a 62.879% for Test 1 and a 58.846% for Test 2. On Sunday, we earned a 57.576% for Test 1 and a similar 57.821% for Test 2. Low, but you know what? I'll take it. At least we showed up.
Once again I battled migraines. Our Friday warm up went only so-so. I know our simple change still needs a lot of work, especially after the counter canter, so Chemaine helped me work through them. The whole time I rode though it felt as though I was in a fog. And that fog followed me around all weekend.
Somehow I bumbled through my two tests on Saturday earning at least one decent score. I tried to forget about the pounding in my head, and to most everyone, I probably looked pretty normal. The truth was that I fluctuated from hey, I am standing up and walking to Oh my gosh I think I am dying as I sobbed in pain.
Saturday evening was the worst. I was in serious pain and barely slept. I wondered how I was going to get through Sunday.
As I've mentioned about 10,000 times already, I am not a quitter. I sucked it up and plowed through those last two tests. Having some great friends around really helped. Just like the day before, we had some solid moments (6.0s and 7.0s) and a few moments that made everyone wince (I finally earned a 2.0).
Migraine or no, I am not that disappointed with our scores. We earned a lot of 6.0s and 7.0s. The movements that we know well earned us great scores, and the what the hell? moments were just blips. As soon as we improve in those areas, we'll be earning mid-60 scores quite easily.
While I wish I could have earned a 60% on Sunday, I am happy with the one good score we did earn. That single score went a long way toward helping me achieve some of my goals.
Our next show is a CDS-rated show in late May. After that we'll tackle another USDF show in mid-June. That gives me a good chunk of time to polish up that simple change and tweak the shoulder in. I am genuinely pleased with our progress and feel no rush to get through Second Level. I think we'll be here for a while.
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 Second Level. 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%
2021 Show Season
(r) Ride-a-Test Clinic
(Q) Must Qualify
2021 Pending …
8/7-8 SCEC (***)
10/30-31 SCEC (***)
2021 Completed …
10/24-25 SCEC (***)
11/7-11/8 SB (***)
4/10-11 SCEC (***)
5/16-17 El Sueño (***)
6/26-27 SCEC (***)
7/17-18 El Sueño (***)
2021 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
2nd Level Qualifying
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%:
Score 1: 60.610% Bhathal
2nd Level Qualifying
5 Scores/4 Judges/61%:
Stuff I Read