From Endurance to Dressage
And here is the second test. If you missed my post Wednesday about the Intro B test, you can see it here. I received several interesting comments about my ride, all of which said the same thing, lighten up - you did fine! I truly appreciate the feedback, but I just have trouble seeing the good parts of the ride.
My complaints are about the same for ride number 2: rein too long, chair seat (again, where did that come from?), and right hand way up in the air (about time for the leveling crop exercise).
There were some good things: our geometry was pretty good. Out halt was pretty square. While the canter left a lot to be improved, we scored fives, there was no kicking out at my leg or bucking. I was pleased with that part.
The judge's score sheet looks as though it belongs to another rider. We scored an eight as we tracked right at C. The judge also commented that we were balanced. Woot woot for us. We also scored an 8 on Collective Marks for Geometry and Accuracy. More woot woots. And of course, the judge's final comments were this, Horse and rider overall demonstrating proper preparation in training scale. Wow, that sounds pretty darn good! In fact, the best comment I've received yet. But need to develop more consistency in maintaining soft contact and swinging back. Yep. That sounds right.
And again, [cue the cheese platter here] it just doesn't look that good on film, to me. It sounds great, but I just can't see it. All I see is Speedy fussing on my long trot to G as I prepare for the final halt. Here's the video with the judge's score sheet after. Watch and judge for yourself.
Oops, I forgot to mention that we did score 65.5% which was first out of five rides although the other four were juniors (said a bit sheepishly). On a brighter note, to qualify for the 2012 Regional Adult Amateur Championship at Introductory Level, I need two scores of 65% - one down, one to go.
I go to the barn every day. I manage my schedule very closely so that I can do this. With two horses to ride and care for, I feel that an hour or two at the barn is necessary. It means that I have to get up quite early, and I have to run all of my errands over the weekend, but it's worth it.
After a weekend of showing and hanging out at the fair with hubby, I realized that I was a bit behind and needed a day off from barn chores to take care of house chores. I let RM know that I would not be at the barn on Tuesday evening. The afternoon was going well, chores were getting done, laundry was being laundered, and then the phone rang.
I can't help it. It's like the Bat Phone. When I see a call from The Barn, whichever barn, I grimace [sorry, RM, nothing personal!] I lost Montoya just hours after a barn call. I will forever worry when those calls come in.
RM informed me that Speedy wasn't eating dinner, which is extremely rare, and worse, he was pacing quite frantically at the end of his run and was covered in a layer of sweat and dirt. Uh-oh.
Hubby walked in the door as I was hanging up. Right away he knew something was amiss and offered to drive me out there. I was pretty thankful about his offer as I immediately wanted to throw up. I knew it was one of two things, and I hoped it wasn't colic.
As soon as we arrived at the barn, my heart sank even lower. Yes, Speedy was covered in sweat and his food was untouched. He whinnied at me and then nipped at his side while I watched. Completely dejected, I grabbed his halter, handed the lead to my husband, and placed my ear at Speedy's flank to listen for gut sounds. Speedy was calming down with my presence, and he stood still for the quick exam. His gut sounds were good, but he still seemed a bit off. With hubby still monitoring, I retrieved my stethoscope and thermometer in order to do a better metabolic diagnosis.
I re-listened to his gut sounds and still thought they were quite good. I took his pulse and was shocked to get only 36 beats per minute. That's nearly a resting heart rate, not the heart rate of a colicky horse who has been frantically pacing. The last check was his temperature. Again, it came out quite normal at 100.5 degrees. These parameters did not look like a horse who was colicking.
I sent hubby out into the arena to walk Speedy while I placed a call to Dr. B. I've blogged many times about how much I love my vet. I respect her expertise so much that I never give any medication without consulting her first. I thought about giving Speedy a bit of Banamine just in case he was showing the signs of a very mild colic. Even though it was her day off [sorry, Dr. B!], she took my call and listened as I described Speedy's "symptoms."
The longer we talked, the more relaxed and mellow Speedy got. After fifteen minutes or so of walking, she suggested we put him back in his stall and fix him his regular beet pulp/rice bran dinner and see how he reacted. I was instructed to call or text her after an hour with an update. I did as I was told.
As soon as Speedy heard the feed bins opening, he was back to normal. He started his feed me now song and got The Look on his face. You know the one. It's the one that says where have you been all day? I've missed you terribly and I am so glad you're going to feed my starving body.
Hubby rolled his eyes in disgust, and said, What a big baby! Yep. That about sums it up. Remember when I said I suspected his behavior was one of two things, colic being one of them? This was the other one. Without checking him out though, I didn't want to run the risk of being wrong.
Speedy is just a very attached pony. He truly is one of those Arabians who would have lived in the tent with his Bedouin family. He watches me at all times and knows exactly where I am. He looks for me in the afternoons and greets me quite enthusiastically when I arrive. He stops eating when I show up. He eagerly awaits the halter. He wants to play. He even notices when I leave.
This might be a problem. I literally can't be at the barn 7 days a week. And this crazed look for Karen behavior is new. He was always glad to see me at his last barn, but not to this level of anxiety. I can't be at the barn today. I've given RM some directions for how to soothe his anxiety should she see this again on Thursday evening. Let's hope it works. I certainly don't want Speedy to worry himself into a colic episode! So for now ... Speedy, Speedy, Speedy! Get over it buddy!
When I halted and saluted at X at the end of my first test, I was very pleased. Our figures felt good. Speedy G wasn't bracing in his neck like he has been doing, he felt relaxed, and he kept a nice steady rhythm. When I saw my score sheet later that morning, I was even more pleased. There were no fives, and we even scored an eight for our medium walk! My Collective Marks had more sevens than sixes, and the judge's further remarks were, Many nice movements shown! At times horse stiffens back and proper connection in bridle was lost. These are much better comments than we've received in the past.
When I got home, I pulled out my score sheet from August and was very pleased that my scores had gone up for several movements, none of my scores went down, and the judge's remarks suggested that we had fixed some of our earlier problems.
I know you're sensing the "but ..." that's coming. Here it is: as I watched the video, my little heart sank. Why weren't my elbows more bent? Why was my rein so loose? And where in the holy heck did that chair position come from? Cue the let-down sound track ... dun dun dun DUN. I know I am very critical of myself, probably too critical. But the truth is that false rah rahs won't help me learn. If I truly want to improve, and I do, then I have to honestly evaluate my riding. We were better. I know that. I just wanted it to be a lot better.
Here's the video of Introductory Test B with the judges's scoresheet after. Watch and judge for yourself. Oh, my final percentage was 65.625% which was my goal for the day. Why am I disappointed?
The Bakersfield area chapter of CDS, Kern River Dressage, is organizing a Ride-a-Test day for this coming Saturday. I signed up. I've never participated in a Ride-a-Test, but from what I gather, you show up, pay your fee, ride the test and a "judge" scores the test. It's not a show or even a schooling show. I think it's schooling for a schooling show. I am just using it as an opportunity to take Sydney on a field trip. He and I aren't ready to show, but we do need to start taking field trips so that I can see how he'll handle traveling to a real show.
The judge that Kern River will be using is Mary Meyer. Mary is a USDF "L Graduate". I've looked up the judges' levels before, but I needed some reminding. Here's what I found on the USDF website.
The “L” program offers a comprehensive curriculum created to teach participants and auditors how to evaluate dressage performance at Training through Second Level.
Those who graduate from the USDF “L” Program are known as an “L graduate”. The United States Equestrian Federation (USEF), as the national governing body of equestrian sports, licenses all judges. USDF only administers the “L” Program, which, if completed with the required scores, will allow you to apply to USEF for the ‘r’ Judges Training Program to become a licensed judge. Those who pass the “L” program final exam are known as “L Graduates”, not as L Judges.
On average, the cost for the entire program ranges from $2000 -$2500, not including transportation or lodging expenses.
Mary has dedicated a chunk of her time and money to participate in the "L" Program. Hopefully this "judging" opportunity will give her the chance to test what she has learned. I hope she finds it to be a valuable experience.
And I know many of you are wondering what has happened to my show videos and test sheets. They're coming, I promise. I hope to work on them this evening and get at least one test and video ready for tomorrow.
How many times can I say I am tired? I am tired. Explanation needed. I woke up at 5:00 a.m. and arrived at the barn at 6:00 a.m. to bathe and braid. I lloaded Speedy G and left for the show at 7:10 a.m. We drove over an hour to the show and over an hour back home. We arrived home at 2:00 p.m., showered, and then spent the afternoon at our county fair. I think tired is an understatement!
So, this is a very quick description of Sunday's show. Videos and score sheets will be shared later in the week.
Top Ten reasons to enjoy show day:
10. I won a $10 Aflac cash prize. Thanks Tehachapi Mountain Chapter CDS!
9. Speedy G did not kick or buck during either canter transition.
8. I changed diagonals from the sitting trot.
7. There was no drama in the warm up arena.
6. I scored an 8 on the Intro B test and NO 5s!!!
5. I scored two 8s on the C test and one of them was for Collective Marks!
4. We scored 65.625% at Introductory B.
3. We scored 65.500% at Introductory C - first out of five riders.
2. Four of the riders were juniors.
and the number one reason to enjoy show day ...
1. The score for Introductory Test C is one of the two qualifying scores I need for the September 2012 Regional Adult Amateur Championships!
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%: