From Endurance to Dressage
First of all, I owe a huge thank you to my CDS Chapter, Tehachapi Mountain Chapter, for sending me to the clinic. TMC paid my clinic fees.
I would also like to thank our host, Suzie Peacock, of Eastvale Equestrian. Our stalls were her own (and clients') horses' day-to-day living space. She moved the horses to another location so that the clinic's participants had the best of the best. Suzie also arranged delicious and healthy meals for the riders.
A huge thank you also goes out to the Southern AA Clinic's organizer, Sandy Harper. Sandy did a fantastic job of organizing the clinic so that it ran without a single glitch - or, none that we could see! We had a great pizza dinner with drinks on Friday night where everyone got to share a little about their own riding experiences and where they were with their current mounts. Throughout the clinic's duration, Sandy also provided a bevy of snacks and beverages to keep us hydrated and full of energy.
Marisa Festerling was the clinician. She is probably the kindest instructor I have ever met. For rider after rider she was supportive, encouraging, positive, and friendly. And it was really hot. By the late afternoon, even I was starting to get a bit cranky, but not Marisa. She smiled and continued to teach each new rider with the same energy with which she started the day.
Initially, I was slightly disappointed in the first day's lesson. Marisa didn't work me very hard, and I felt like I didn't get enough new stuff to make the day really worthwhile. Day two proved that the work Marisa had done with me on Saturday was essential to the work we did on Sunday. Had she tried to cram it all in on the first day, I would have been overwhelmed. Her step-by-step process allowed me to feel really prepared for the second day.
Right away she "got me" on my left hand. I've been blogging about this for several weeks. She kept insisting that I make a fist and keep my thumb up. When I open my fingers and turn my hand down, Speedy escapes the outside rein and falls onto the forehand. Seeing and feeling the consequence of my poor hand position has already helped motivate me to FIX IT!
Marisa also helped me work on Speedy's bend to the right. Since I've been allowing him to escape the outside rein, especially while tracking right, he hasn't been asked to keep an inside bend. Instead, he's been poking his nose out to the left. Marisa instructed me to keep my left hand closed while vibrating the inside rein to get a correct bend. My habit has been to try to get the bend by using too much outside leg to make the corners. This has caused Speedy to fall in too steeply as we go through the corners.
The next thing Marisa addressed is my tendency to let Speedy gravitate to the rail instead of just touching it at B or E. She pointed out that he's actually making a square instead of a 20-meter circle. By beginning my turns sooner, I was able to control his outside shoulder so that he didn't leg yield himself to the rail (Marisa's description).
The video isn't perfect, and it's a bit long at 31 minutes, but I am pretty happy with the work it shows. Speedy and I have definitely improved over the last few years. The first year that we tried dressage, we were still doing endurance races together. That was just three or four years ago. You would think that in nearly four years we would be further along, but this is a tough discipline to master. I think we're doing okay!
I am a little surprised, but more than 50% of the responses were for the black with silver detailing helmet. I think it is a very pretty helmet, but I was certain everyone would go for one of the other options. I am placing my order today.
The clinic was great; I learned a few things and felt a few things. I'll write more about the clinic this week. Oh, and there is even video that I am not embarrassed about sharing!
And even though I am tired, I am now off for my regular lesson on Sydney!
But before we do any choosing, I should share that I am on my way to the California Dressage Society's Adult Amateur Clinic in Southern California. CDS hosts three AA clinics each summer: one in the north, one in central California, and a third clinic in the southern region.
Each CDS chapter sends one rider to the clinic that is usually the closest. In my case, my CDS chapter is located in a mountain community which means winter is a little longer for them, so they choose to send their rider to the latest clinic, which is in the southern region.
Riders are selected by a random drawing. In order to be eligible, each rider must meet a list of criteria, which is not too difficult to do; I made it! Anyway, Speedy and I will be gone through the weekend, so you won't hear from me until Monday. Until then, would you have a look at the helmet that I've decided to order and help me choose a color?
This is the Ovation Glitz Helmet. I currently ride in the Ovation Sync with Carbon Fiber, which I LOVE, and I show in the Ovation show helmet - I don't think it has a fancy name. Even though I love the Sync with Carbon Fiber, I figured I should try one of their other styles. This helmet has a little more bling than I am accustomed to, but I am beginning to like living a little closer to the edge!
VTO Saddlery has the helmet on sale if you use the coupon code tenoff by June 30. The helmet's list price, before the discount, is $89.95, which is not too bad for a somewhat stylish helmet. Their shipping rate for the el cheapo option is a flat rate of $4.99, well worth it to me.
Before you vote, think about how conservative I am, but know that I really like all four of them! This helmet is for schooling only, but I see this as a chance to live outside of my little black and white box.
If you have time, I would love to hear by comment (or email or phone call or face to face) why you chose that color for me. Vote soon as I am ordering on Monday!
I have been on barn duty for nearly two weeks, and I have another week to go. I take care of my own two, of course, but now I am watching four other ponies, two of which are down the road. That makes a total of six horses to fly spray, six fly masks to check on, and a host of other must dos.
My long time friend KG is in Oklahoma, but she should be returning today. A neighbor kid is feeding her two geldings, but I'm keeping the water troughs filled, dousing them with fly spray, cramming them full of cookies, and just checking on their general health. By now, they recognize me as the human Pez dispenser.
My own barn owner has gone to Canada. Fortunately, she has a large support group that is helping out with the chores (house sitter & evening feed person), so I am only responsible for a few jobs. I am doing the daily cleaning, fly spray, turn out, and general barn clean up. I am also feeding the other two geldings an early lunch since my boys get theirs every day.
Even with the extra chores, I am still riding both of my own boys Monday through Friday, which includes lessons twice a week. I've certainly been busy, but I love the work and prefer it to my day job. To bad Barn Duty doesn't pay as well!
No photos and nothing fancy. This is just a simple post to express my … relief. I had the best rides on my boys yesterday. And that doesn't happen very often. If one is great, the other is a fire breathing dragon. But not yesterday.
And it was actually one of those days where they would have been justified in being tense and spooky. Starting at 7:30 a.m., the neighbor was using a compressor and a NASCAR tire changing nail gun. Now I don't think it was really a tire changing thing, but as a NASCAR fan, that's EXACTLY what it sounded like. The neighbor was repairing some broken fence boards, and to make the job quicker, he had his brother bring over the compressor that's built into his truck. It was loud. Very loud.
Every horse in the barn was a little freaked out. Both of my boys were zipping around their runs with their heads in the air. Sydney was rearing, bucking, and throwing in some serious squeals. Speedy was doing the same thing. Instead of saddling up like I normally do at that time, I turned each horse out in the arena so that he could run off some of the anxiety that was quickly building.
Speedy was a total wild child. Unfortunately, he took a divot out of his foot, just above the coronet band. After a quick betadine scrub, the wound looked innocuous enough, so I did saddle up. The neighbor assured me that he would be done with the job within the hour, and true to his word, he was. But you know how it can be. Once the horses get that riled up, it can be hard to bring them back down to Earth.
Even though he was tense in the cross ties, Speedy brought his "Rock Star" persona to the arena. He was simply pleasant to ride. I have had some pretty big AHA moments with him over the last few weeks, and yesterday, a lot of things just came together. I am finding that I am riding him back to front with more regularity. When I sit up and use a lot of leg, his head comes down and he gives me a really nice stretch. And that outside hand thing that I spoke of yesterday? I totally addressed that and feel like I am on a good path with him.
And Sydney? Let's just say that when I finally got off of him, I leaned my forehead between his big, brown eyes and just let out a little sob of relief. He and I have been working so hard to pull this whole thing together, and yesterday, he rode like the Steady Eddy that I know he can be. We did walk/trot/canter to both the left and the right without a single misstep. He was right with for me every stride.
The morning started out looking like a disaster, but when I let the have to get it done right now thinking fall away, my rides were perfect. At a lesson a few days ago, Sydney reached down to scratch his face. I gave my trainer a quick oops and a sorry, but she explained that sometimes, it's better to let our horses know that scratching is okay because we aren't in any hurry.
That really resonated with me. I am in a hurry a lot. But yesterday, I wasn't, and I got something really great as a reward.
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
(Q) Must Qualify
2022 Shows Schedule
(*) Tehachapi 5/22/22
2022 Completed …
2022 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
2 Scores/1 Judges/60%: