From Endurance to Dressage
This is the M R B P F long side.
My warm up didn't go so well, but neither did my last schooling ride on Friday. I don't know what was wrong. Speedy has just been tense and not super thrilled with the idea of relaxing and working over his back. Maybe I am asking for too much too tightly. I dunno ...
Even though I wasn't thrilled with how he warmed up, I went in with what I had. Our trot down the alley felt great, and I actually felt like we were improving as the test started which is a novel feeling for me. I was actually feeling good.
We started off with two sevens which confirms the feeling I had. We also earned a six for our left lead canter depart which is huge for us. The stretchy trot continues to be my nemesis; we earned a five. We rocked the free walk with a seven (!) and even got a decent working trot at C (six).
And then things went all to Hell. See photo just below. Most of the spectators sit in the bleachers on the right, or they sit along the long side just under those trees.
The "A" end of the arena doesn't really have pedestrian access. It's just a sloping hill covered in foxtails and tall grass. The warm up arena is down below, and there are cattle pens off to the left of the arena but below the berm.
For unknown reasons, three "spectators," and I use that term with jaw clenched, decided to approach the dressage court from over the top of the berm through the foxtails all the while chatting loudly and toting armloads of stuff: a folding chair, beach bag, and other miscellaneous hand-held items. They popped into view just as I approached "P" during my right circle at B.
I felt Speedy suck back and pop his nose into the air. I added tons of leg, but there was no way I could keep the right bend. In a VERY loud voice, I yelled, "STOP MOVING, please!" To their credit, they did stop moving, but the chair, beach bag, and other miscellaneous items also froze in midair where they had been swinging along. This freaked Speedy out even more.
As I finished the circle at B heading back to A, I realized, in horror, that the spectators were still frozen with all items still hanging in the air in some weird version of Red Light/Green Light. Holy crap! I was able to get Speedy to pass, but it wasn't pretty. I circled at A and tried to develop a right lead canter in the second half of the circle. Uh ... yeah ... nope. Speedy started and sputtered and moved his four legs in anything but a nice 1, 2, 3 canter rhythm. I finally gave up and just got him by them again, for the third pass. They were STILL frozen in place!
Our trot down the center line is one of our strengths so I did my best to pull him together for one last chance to salvage the ride. It must have worked because the judge gave us a six for our effort. We halted, I saluted, and then my lower lip started to tremble as tears threatened. We left the arena as my new "friends" bumbled their way to their seats. As I exited at A, the next rider gave me a that really sucked comment and then followed it with an atta girl, you handled that really well.
I moped my way back to the trailer still fighting tears. I popped Speedy's halter on and made sure his hay and water were within reach. Then I boohooed my way into the trailer and quickly dialed Cha Ching's mom for an attitude adjustment. She knew just what to say, Damn those insensitive people!, and within minutes I had a smile back on and was ready to go ride test 2.
Here is the Training Level, Test 1 score sheet. Our trouble started at movement 10. Check out the judge's comment, distracted at P. Yeah, ya think?! Final score was a 57.500% Click images to enlarge.
Score sheets with better analysis tomorrow.
And a few photos of the grounds - The Bear Valley Equestrian Center, located just outside of Tehachapi, California, is a very pretty facility.
Click images to enlarge.
I might have forgotten to mention that I have a show this morning. My goals are simple: have fun, don't get hurt, and earn scores above 60%.
I'll be in Tehachapi which is a little over an hour away. I ride at 7:58 a.m. so I have to leave the house pretty darn early. Poor Speedy's not going to know what hit him!
I am a bit anxious about the early ride time since it will be pretty cool in Tehachapi. Speedy is normally very well behaved at this venue, but the cool morning air might give him some extra energy, hence the don't get hurt goal.
This is a CDS show, but I already have my qualifying scores for September's Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC) so I don't feel any pressure to earn a certain score. It's not a USDF show so I can't earn any scores toward my USDF Riding Performance Award. Even though I don't need them, I still want to earn scores over 60% since my mind is now on doing well at RAAC.
Wish us well, and I'll let you know how we do.
The La Rosa Ice Cream carts ...
On Thursday I ate a La Rosa Piña Colada ice cream bar on the tailgate of my truck. What a great way to end a busy morning at the barn - ice cream dripping to the ground, legs swinging, and a whole lot of slurping!
If you're from Bakersfield, especially from the north east, you know all about La Rosa ice cream carts. I bought my bar at the feed store, hence sitting on my tailgate, but I sure wish the cart would come by occasionally.
If you're not from Bakersfield, La Rosa is a family owned business that manufactures its own ice cream bars which they sell from bell-clad carts and at various locations around town. Jesus Diaz and his wife, Rosa, started making their ice cream bars in 1980.
I have to go back to the feed store today ... I might have another one!
As I write this on Wednesday, it's a "chilly" 75℉ (24℃) which is 30 degrees cooler than a week ago at this same time. Thank goodness. With such cool weather, I was able to feed seven horses (fed for the neighbor), clean four stalls (twice!), ride three horses, fill 2 water troughs, bathe 1 horse, move sprinklers, clean the barn aisle, and putter around doing other odd jobs.
Tuesday was just as nice. After riding and doing barn chores, I decided to give the inside of my horse trailer a thorough scrubbing. On a hot day, it's like a sauna inside when you hose it out. With low temperatures and a cool breeze, it's almost like visiting a water park. Almost. I wish I had thought to take before photos, but alas, I didn't. I would have been embarrassed to show them any way.
Speedy is a messy traveler. He breathes/sneezes a constant stream of wetness against the front window and partition which subsequently gets grossly crusty. He also loves to poop in the trailer, and it ALWAYS hits the wall and STICKS. I keep shavings on my trailer floor which help absorb some of the moisture and prevent the floor from becoming slippery, but it's hard to clean out every single poop ball which means there are always a few floating around in the shavings. Speedy is also a sloppy eater so there is also loose hay mixed around in the poop infused shavings. Add some summer time dust, and you have a pretty good mess.
I emptied the tack room, swept out the shavings, and armed myself with a scrub brush and a nozzle sprayer set to jet. Here are some after photos.
I just realized there are some confusing elements in this photo that beg an explanation.
The water tank: I haven't used it in a long time, but I don't have anywhere else to store it. Speedy travels on this side of the partition so it's no big deal. When I bring more than one horse, I remove the water tank so that a horse can travel in that stall.
The door next to the water tank: that's a pass through door which leads to the living quarters. It's one of my favorite features of the trailer. There's a screen on the other side which allows good ventilation to pass through the living quarters. It's also handy when camping; muddy/dirty shoes, folding chairs, ice chest, and jackets can be stored in the horse compartment without taking up space or stinking up the living quarters.
Where's the other divider?: I took out the second divider long ago. 99% of the time, I bring only one horse at a time. Without the divider there, he has a lot more room while traveling. Back when I was using two horses at a time for endurance riding, they traveled quite happily side-by-side in the double stall while the first stall was used for the water tank and a hay bale.
What's that above the middle window?: The rectangular thing is a light, and the black lumps are the mounting bolts for the Hi-Tie. The bolts don't stick out that far, but I wanted to be really careful. They're covered with heavy duty foam and Gorilla Tape. They're actually no longer than the receiver bolt for the missing divider seen in the center of the photo.
I love having a clean trailer; I just wish it would stay that way! I'll add fresh shavings before Sunday's show and I've already put my regular stuff back in the tack room.
If you want to see more pictures of the trailer or read more about trailering, I've written a small series on safety and so on. You can find those posts at this link.
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%: