From Endurance to Dressage
I had hoped to tell you about our Sunday ride today. Spoiler alert - it was a good one, but I went back to work on Monday, and I just haven't had time to dig through the media and get it all down on paper. I'll finish the show recap on Monday.
The problem with having horses and showing is that you have to pay for horses and showing. In order to do that, you have to go to work. I'll admit that I have a pretty great job for someone who likes to ride every day and show all summer. I get off at 2:50 which leaves me plenty of daylight in the winter months for riding, and I get all summer off. It's pretty good gig.
The downside is that the work is never actually done, especially this time of year. In order to leave at 2:50, I get there before 6:30 in the morning. And while I can leave at 2:50, I haven't been able to do that this week. There has simply been too much to do.
So, I've got nothing super exciting for you today unless you dig socks as much as I do. A few weeks ago, Dover sent me an email about some sale or other. I am not a huge Dover fan, but every once in a while they get me.
A number of years ago, I got a credit card connected with Dover so that I get $4.95 shipping and gift certificates with so many dollars spent. I had a $10 gift certificate laying around that I felt obligated to use, so when I saw the sale, it seemed a good time to redeem it.
Dover had Over the Calf Peddies on sale for $2.99 each. I about died. They typically run right around 10 bucks a pair. I got three pairs for $9.00 instead of $30.00. I through in a tube of dewormer, also $2.99, and then paid $4.95 in shipping. The charge to my credit card was $16 and change.
So there you have it. Cheap socks. Everything a girl could want. Have a great weekend!
My second test of the day, Second Level Test 3, was about forty minutes after the first. We walked Speedy back to his stall for a quick break and a drink of water.
My goals for this test were two-fold: no score lower than a 6.0 - fail, and improve the score over a few weeks ago when I rode for the same judge - met my goal but only just barely.
Our one and only sub 6.0 score came at our very first centerline - 5.5 with the comment, not truly immobile drift right of E. From the video I can't tell if he drifted, but I believe it. That's something I've been struggling with as I sit the trot. I am sure I am sitting too hard on one seat bone or the other. And you can definitely tell he wasn't truly halted. He was all over the place in that first halt.
That first blip aside, the test rode pretty much at a satisfactory level. The whole test is a sea of 6.0s with some 6.5s thrown in for good measure. The comments were more corrective than glowing, but there was this gem, good correction when too much neck for our shoulder-in right. She gave me a 6.5. I love hearing that we're doing something right.
Unfortunately, and you can definitely see it in the video, I let Speedy get behind the vertical in the canter work. The comments say it all keep poll highest point (twice) and way behind the vertical. Not just behind, but way behind. Ouch. The judge's further remarks were both kind and dead on, Both of you are really trying. Try to increase the flow of the test harmony without horse getting behind the vertical.
Our final score was a 61.585% for fifth out of five. I wasn't disappointed though. My score was over 60%, and we only had that single 5.5. Other than that, we just need to inch those 6.0s to 6.5s and the 6.5s to 7.0s.
Here's the test.
Sunday's results tomorrow if I have the time.
For so long, I went to shows by myself, spending a lot of time watching others ride and feeling a bit like an outsider. Even so, I made it a point to chat with my barn neighbors, making some good friends along the way, and slowly I started to feel like I was part of the crowd. Now, nine show seasons later, I am going to shows with my trainer and her other students as well as meeting up with old friends. It's definitely a lot more fun than cranking it out alone.
Being a part of Symphony Dressage Stables means having a great team supporting me no matter how I do. It means getting my boots polished, my rides videoed, and doing the same for a friend. It also means staying up late laughing about being Naked and Afraid with a strange man while wondering if its okay to spoon with said stranger if you're married. We never came to a consensus.
This year's Central Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC) was held at Twin Rivers Ranch, an eventing venue. For the eventers out there, you'll know the facility well. It was the first time many of us had ever shown there. As a side note, there is also a Northern and Southern RAAC as well. California is pretty big.
I got to TRR on Friday at lunch time and got our tack stall set up. Jen pulled in a few hours later. Since it was so hot, Chemaine Hurtado, owner and trainer at Symphony Dressage Stables, arrived in the early evening to coach us in the massive covered arena. I meant to get pictures, but I got busy.
Both horses warmed up really well, and I had some good aha moments while riding. My Second Level feel is really starting to develop. I am not sure we're completely confirmed at Second Level, our simple change is still a bit weak, but we're definitely getting there.
After our Friday night lesson, Jen, Morgan, and Chemaine all headed out for dinner while I gratefully walked to the house we rented (yep, a rented house right on the show grounds. How awesome is that?!). After a cold shower and a quick bite to eat, I snuggled into bed and read for a few minutes before drifting off to sleep. It had been a long day and we had two more to go.
Everyone was up early on Saturday morning as Jen's Prix St Georges ride was scheduled first thing. With only one ride for the day, Jen spent the rest of the day hanging out and graciously videoing my rides.
My first ride of the day, Second Level Test 1, was at 10:06 which left me plenty of time for braiding and tacking up. Like every show this season, my goal has been to score nothing lower than a 6.0. We met our goal for this test while also scoring a pair of 7.0s for good measure. Our final score for the test was a respectable 62.727% - not breaking records, but it was a solid effort.
Since last riding for this judge, I worked really hard on getting Speedy more active. While we didn't hit a grand slam, the judge did notice. Our medium walk earned the comment, fairly active needs over stride. Our counter canter from E to H earned the comment, fairly active. She still felt we needed to cover more ground and show over stride/thrust, but all in all, she noted the improvement where she saw it.
As we near the end of this show season, I am more than happy with the progress we've both made. My sitting trot is passable, and Speedy's medium gaits are getting better. We've also nearly eliminated the curling, although we still have our moments.
Here's the video from Second level Test 1.
Second Level Test 3 tomorrow ...
Show news is coming, I promise, but I need time to write it up. In the meantime ...
I don't wear a watch during the day because I am really hard on them. I break the face or the band, and batteries wear out almost as soon as I put one on. I do wear a watch at the barn though. The last barn watch my husband bought me is probably close to ten years old. I can't even remember when he gave it to me. I loved that watch.
Blue Watch was a lot like Blue Truck - they're both reliable and hard working. Well, at least Blue Truck is. Blue Watch started out by losing its band keeper. I solved that annoyance by substituting a keeper from a pair of rubber spur straps. That actually worked for several months.
Not long after, I realized that the hole that I wear Blue Watch on was sliced nearly through. The band was holding on, but I knew that its days were limited. The very next time I wore it, the band tore completely in half. Not one to give up, I duct taped it together, but duct tape doesn't hold too well when it's 5 billion degrees.
I said a little prayer over Blue Watch's pieces and promptly ordered the exact same watch, but this time in white.
Almost immediately, a friend started teasing me, asking why I didn't just buy Blue Watch a new band. I rolled my eyes. The watch was under $40. It wasn't worth spending money on a band. But then I started wearing White Watch during the day while I wasn't at the barn, and I decided that I really liked White Watch and didn't want to get it dirty.
I ordered a new band for Blue Watch.
The band was only $12 plus a wee bit for shipping. I googled "How to Change a Watch Band," got a mini screw driver, and prepared myself for a DIY project. Whomp, whomp. My husband and I both gave it a good college try, but neither of us was able to attach the new band.
Having forked out the 12 bucks and a bit more for shipping, I wasn't about to quit on Blue Watch. I tossed all of the pieces into a Ziploc baggie and found a jewelry store. The guy there gave it a try and shrugged his shoulders. Nope.
One of the ladies at the jewelry store pulled me aside as I was leaving and suggested I check out a local watch repair store at the mall (that I hadn't been to in more than 10 years). Guess what? That guy was a band attaching genius!
I can't tell you how good it was to have Blue Watch back. I love that watch. Its chronograph is easy to use while I am riding, and I actually know how to set the time and date. So, from watch pieces to two watches, I am liking wearing a watch during the day. Since I am pretty hard on watches, I don't know how long White Watch will last.
The bigger question is how much longer do you think Blue Watch's battery can last?!
A few weeks back I wrote about my little electrical problem with my horse trailer; my lights quit working. I ended up plugging my trailer into a second receptacle that got me there and back even if it did look a bit ghetto.
Draping my trailer plug over my tailgate was not a long term solution, so I hauled my truck and trailer down to Pensingers, a local store that services RVs. Since these guys work by the hour, I decided to get my full hour(s)' worth by throwing in a second job.
I have to say that it never occurred to me to install fans in my trailer even though I live in one of the hottest places in the country. I actually saw fans like these on another blogger's page, but I can't remember who it was. If you recently traveled to Montana or Wyoming to visit a friend on a ranch, please speak up as this was your idea.
My trainer is married to an electrician, so I asked him about installing some fans in my horse trailer. He did some Google searching and landed on these fans from Coolhorse. They were only $34.90 each with $8.00 shipping.
The guys at Pensingers were more than happy to install the fans that I brought. I walked Fernando through my trailer and explained where I wanted them. Since I already have interior lights above the sliding windows, the wiring was already there which made the job pretty easy - says the person whose only job was to swipe her credit card.
My interior lights turn on with an outside switch, so we put the fans on the same switch. The lights also have an on/off button which you can see at the top of the light box. Since I rarely need those lights, I simply turned each one off, so that when I turn on the fans using the outside switch, the lights won't come on, but the fans will.
Even with my drop down windows open, the roof vents open, and the tail windows open, it gets hot in my trailer, especially when we're stuck in traffic or waiting for a light. Since they're only twelve volt fans, they only create a small amount of circulation, but it's enough to be felt.
I figure any extra air I can get moving in there is better than none. Speedy alone can heat up that area pretty quickly. It's doubly sticky when both boys are in there.
The fans are fairly quiet, but you know horses. Speedy loads with no prompting from me, but he'll always notice that something is new.
I contemplated how to introduce him to the fans. I wasn't sure whether to load him with the fans running or turn the fans on after he was already in there. Surprise!
The day before we left for RAAC, I decided I had better do a practice run. I tied him to the trailer and then started up my truck. With the engine going, I hit the switch for the fans. It was actually hard to hear them. I walked Speedy to the door and asked him to load like always. He didn't even look at the fans until he was inside. He put his nose up to the far one and had a peek out the window. And that was it. I love it when things turn out to be non-issues.
Pensingers made quick work of my plug issue as well. As I suspected, there was simply a bad connection which the service department repaired. My final bill ended up being $142.50 for labor (plus $77.98 for the fans). It was a bit of a bill, but now I know the plug is working, and the fans were installed correctly. Had we tried to do it ourselves, we would have probably short circuited everything and then had an even larger bill.
Money well spent, I think.
RAAC news coming in a few days ... I go back to work today, so it's going to take me a few days to write up how the show went.
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%: