From Endurance to Dressage
Fair warning, I am NOT tracking my pony dollars in 2013. I do not consider my husband and I to be in any shape or form well off. We work very hard, are careful with our money, and go without some things in order to have other things. With that said, the amount I spend on a hobby is frightening. There are American families (and even more non-American families) who live on less than what I've spent this year. That doesn't mean I am going to give up my horses, but I just don't want to know in such exquisite detail how much money this whole thing costs me.
I was discussing this blog series with one of my colleagues the other day. He pointed out that I shouldn't feel so bad as even he knows that I don't do a lot of things so that I can do this. He pointed out that Hubby and I don't eat out a lot, go to the movies, shop for clothing or jewelry, buy new cars, etc. He was right of course, but still ...
Happily, I was able to keep September's expenditures to a pretty low number. This might be the least I've spent in a month all year. We got a small pay cut this school year (2.73%) which means I have a little less spending money to toss around right now.
There's also the distinct, and very real, possibility that California's kids will go to school up to 20 fewer days next year. If that happens, my pay will be cut by more than 10%. There are several propositions on the November ballot that are designed to temporarily "fix" public school funding, but most Californians are mistrustful of our legislature and their ability to correctly handle our state's finances. We shall see.
For now, I am just going to ride, take lessons, attend clinics, and start showing again in the spring like I've been doing. As someone once told me, there's no point in borrowing trouble from tomorrow.
Post-publish edit: entry form has been updated.
This is completely local so rather than bore you, why don't you check out what's happening over at SprinklerBandits?
If you're still with me, I am just sharing Kern River's (Bakersfield's local CDS chapter) upcoming Ride-a-Test. The event is scheduled for October 20, 2012 at Quiet Creek Ranch. Mary Meyer, an "L" Program Graduate, will be judging. Quiet Creek Ranch is located at 331 Wegis Avenue, Bakersfield, CA 93314.
If you're somewhat local, this is an excellent opportunity to get your horse and yourself out to a low stress event. You can come show ready including white breeches, coat, and a braided mane, or you can simply show up with the intention of schooling. I am bringing Sydney, but I'll be in schooling breeches, and he won't be braided.
Here's a photo from January's event ... I hope to see you there!
There is one last mini-story to last weekend's show ...
After both tests were done, I went up to the show office to retrieve my score sheets. I stood outside of the show office chatting with Marbaskin's Mom all the while keeping my eye on Sydney who was tied at the trailer.
We walked inside where we started talking with the show secretary. I was there for less 20 minutes. Out front, there came a call for a loose horse. Someone asked what color, and I heard, dark bay. I knew it was Sydney.
I blurted oh, sh*t! and bolted out the door. Someone yelled that the horse's name was Sydney (THANK YOU HALTER TAGS!). He's mine! I hollered, and the crowd laughed and was relieved. The gentleman who had Sydney said that he had found him out on the main road (OH MY GOD!) where he was happily trotting away from the barn. Sydney, Sydney, Sydney - it's a long walk back to Bakersfield!
I looked him over carefully and could find nothing wrong. He was calm and happy and seemed relieved to see me. We walked back to the trailer where I used the double loop on my Blocker Tie Ring. Apparently, the single loop that I've used for years is not firm enough for Kiwis.
Speedy is quite respectful of the Basic Hold on the Blocker Tie Ring. He has never tested the strength of that setting and is content to stand at the trailer for days. When I returned Sydney to the trailer, I noted that the tie ring was still in the closed position which means that he simply leaned steadily on the rope until it slid out.
Using the Medium Hold setting takes a LOT of pressure to pull the rope free. If Sydney pulls THAT hard, it'll be loud and BIG. And if THAT setting doesn't hold him, looping the tail end of the rope over the whole thing, Maximum Hold, adds one more layer of "grab" that I don't think he could pull free from even if he really tried.
While this "escape" could have ended in disaster, I really just let it go as it does no good to imagine what might have happened. Instead, I now know that Sydney needs to be tied in a slightly different way than my other horses have needed. I have camped with my horses for almost two decades; they have always stood tied at the trailer. This is the FIRST time that I've ever had a LOOSE HORSE.
Of course, it would be the horse from Down Under - he obviously learned to drive on the "wrong" side of the road and was freaked out about having to repeat the journey home. No doubt he was thinking that his owner was a complete idiot! Right side, Sydney, right side.
I borrowed this from the National FFA Organization's Facebook page. I don't know if the FFA made them up or not, but they seem like a decent set of rules to live by, and not just at the barn.
Poor Sydney. This test was pretty bad (50.625%), and I think it was more my fault than anything else. There was a lot of this:
He was just really tense, and I couldn't seem to find a way to be softer with my hands. I should have just let go of the reins and let him travel with a longer frame. Truthfully, I was so worried about him spooking that I was trying to find a balance between having control and letting him move out.
Marbaskin's Mom, who was there to cheer on the local riders, noted that while he didn't spook in the second test like he had in the first, he wasn't as relaxed either. It wasn't all bad though. There were some moments when we were both trying to get it right.
When you look at the scores, you'll see a string of 4s. Rather than fight with him in the 20 meter circle, I just worked on some of his tension by sending him sideways. He was getting heavier and stiffer at the trot, and I didn't want him to bolt so I asked for lots of halts. There was no way to disguise it, but It was more important to get him off my leg.
This was certainly not our best dressage work, but I was really pleased with how hard he tried. I am not disappointed at all. At least it wasn't a 49%! Click images to enlarge.
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%: