From Endurance to Dressage
Speedy G after both rides. He looks quite proud of himself!
Short on time, but here's the skinny: No 65% for Intro C. Rats. Instead, we earned a very respectable 63.5%. It's hard to be upset with that score. It's a good score. I'll try for the 65% again in a few weeks.
On the other hand, the 72.5% that we earned at Intro B is pretty awesome! What? Yep. You read that right. Let me say it again in case you missed it - 72.5%. At a three-star event no less. I haven't seen the overall scores for the entire show, but it certainly seems like a stand-out score to me. I said in yesterday's post that I thought we were ready to move up to Training Level 1. This score seems to confirm that. I think we're done with Intro B. Hello, T1. I am looking forward to meeting you!
More tomorrow ...
This is our second-to-the-last show for 2011. I've already sent in my entry for the local MARE show, a one-star event, being held on November 12. I am looking forward to that show because it's on the Saturday of a three-day weekend. Although I know it's not a holiday for everyone, I have Veteran's Day off. Shows are much easier when there is an extra day off to prepare or an extra day to recover.
There is a schooling show up north in December, Toys for Tots, but I've decided that a winter show so far from home isn't fun. I went last year with Taz's mom, and while it was fun, we had to leave the barn before dawn and then battled wet windy, weather the whole day. I think I'll skip it this year.
Today Speedy G and I are heading two and a half hours north to Clovis for a three-star dressage show, Dressage in the Valley III. I am still competing Intro B & C, but I really think this will be our last Intro B class. I think we're ready for Intro C and Training Level 1. If we can just get a buck free canter that is also fairly connected, I'll be thrilled.
Please wish us well. I am really keeping focused on earning that 65%!
This is part of an ongoing series of posts about trailering. If you're an old hand at hauling horses, please chime in!
Here is another safety feature that you might not have thought of to include, or do, when hauling your own horse.
I've already blogged about the Blocker Tie Ring here, but it's an item worth mentioning again, especially as it has to do with trailering safety.
Each of the three stalls of my trailer has a Blocker Tie Ring hanging in it. Every horse that gets in my trailer gets "tied" this way. In the event that I was to have an accident, or a horse was to panic in the trailer, the tie ring will release the rope, freeing the horse.
With the quick snap attached, it is also very simple to un-loop the rope, unsnap the tie ring, and re-attach it to the trailer's outside tie hooks. Now my horses are as safe inside the trailer as out.
Ted Blocker, the inventor of the Blocker Tie Ring, has a a great website that explains how the Blocker Tie Ring works. Since he's done such a great job explaining how it works, you can read his explanation here. He also has some great videos that show the tie ring in operation. Catch those here.
I really can't say enough about this device. I know there are similar products on the market, but this one truly does what it says. I own four of them and feel that they are the absolute best way to "tie" a horse. Trailering is inherently dangerous for our horses. A lot can go wrong. Anything we can do to make their journey safer seems like an obvious choice.
Safety Tip #4: Use a Blocker Tie Ring
I really love it when a blogging friend starts my mental wheels rolling. Val, who writes Memoirs of a Horse Girl, asked about the California Dressage Society. Val lives in New Jersey. I sort of assumed that each state had its own dressage society. In my little world, it just made sense that there was one national dressage body and a neat little group of 50 state societies. Nope. That's not how it works. Thanks to Val, I was forced to do a little research and now know how the USDF recognizes local affiliates. Now That's a Trot also chimed in and reported that some of the GMOs (more about that down below) do more than just dressage, like eventing for example. If you belong to a dressage club that does more than dressage, please share!
Let's start with USEF - the United States Equestrian Federation. USEF, started in 1917, is the national governing body for equestrian sports here in the USA. The USEF trains, selects, and funds our United States Equestrian Team and also licenses equestrian competitions of all levels across the United States each year. But what does USEF have to do with showing dressage? Competitors who wish to make it into the elite ranks must abide by all of USEF's rules. That means that if you hope to ride in the WEG, Pan-American Games, or the Olympics, you have to participate in events that are recognized by the USEF. Even if you don't plan on making any of these elite teams, others hope to, so even at the most beginner level shows, USEF's rules and expectations can be felt.
So on to the USDF - United States Dressage Federation, the only US national dressage membership organization. USDF's website states, Dedicated to education, the recognition of achievement and promotion of dressage, USDF is [an] organization with more than 30 different educational programs, 125 affiliate local or regional clubs and more than 2000 annual awards for excellence in competition. The national levels, Training Level through Fourth Level, are governed by the United States Equestrian Federation. The international levels are governed by the Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI).
USDF has approximately 125 local affiliates. These affiliate clubs are called Group Member Organizations (GMOs). By joining your local GMO, you automatically become a Group Member of USDF. Find your nearest GMO here. There are four different types of membership: Participating, Education, Group, and Business. Since each membership is slightly different, USDF recommends that you read about each membership carefully before joining.
USDF has ten regions: numbers 1 - 9 are national, and the 10th is international. Since I live in California, I belong to region 7. My GMO is the California Dressage Society (CDS).
There are are least four types of dressage shows in California. The first are simple schooling shows. Any type of judge may be used, even "L Graduates" from the USDF Education Program (not yet USEF licensed judges). Schooling shows can be quite formal and generally look and feel like a rated show. The exception is that riders can wear polos, times may run a bit wonky, and the general atmosphere is usually more relaxed. Many CDS chapters even put on non-rated series of schooling shows that have year end awards and prizes.
The next level of show in California is a CDS rated show. One-star shows, as they are called here, follow all USEF rules, but points are only earned for CDS championships or the Regional Adult Amateur Competition. One-star shows will have a licensed USEF judge, although they are frequently the lower level judges.
The third type of show in California is referred to as a three-star event, recognized by CDS, USDF, and USEF. These show usually have higher level judges and will often times attract more accomplished riders. Points are earned for national level awards as well as state awards.
The final type of show seen in California, or least the only other kind that I am aware of, are the CDI shows: Concours Dressage International, a dressage competition recognized by the FEI. CDI-W have World Cup qualifying or World Cup classes, while CDI-O have Olympic qualifying or Olympic classes. These are way, way, out of my league of course, but it's good to know what they are.
I haven't really cared how the shows are rated. There aren't very many shows close to me so I just go to whatever fits my schedule, whatever the rating. I've done a handful of schooling shows, a bigger number of one-star shows, and a few triple-rated shows. On Sunday I'm competing at a three-star event that is two and half hours north. I am not fazed by the recognition. I just want to show! In two weeks I plan to attend a local show that is another one-star event. Now that I hope to earn a CDS plate, schooling shows have lost their appeal, but this isn't a big deal since the only schooling shows I've found are more than two hours away.
So, still alphabet soup, or are things a little more clear?
Each ribbon has been important!
Tiny edit ... Mary pointed out that the RAAC is actually a competition, not a championship. I've made the change down below.
I don't need an atta-girl for every little thing I do, but I will admit that I like earning ribbons at shows. And year-end awards, no matter how small, mean something to me. I work pretty hard to improve my riding and a small token acknowledging that is appreciated.
Did you know that a certificate is earned by California Dressage Society members who achieve scores of 60% or better at Introductory C Level or above in a single show season? Hey! That's me. I think I'm getting a certificate! I have three scores of 60% or higher for this show season (October 1 - October 1). This season I showed at five rated shows, one schooling show, and the October Ride-a-Test. My Intro C scores for the rated shows were 54.500%, 60.500%, 57.500%, 62.000%, and 65.500%.
An engraved plate is awarded the first time a member earns five (5) or more scores of 60% or better at Introductory C Level or above in a single show season. Recipients will continue to receive plates every year thereafter. The plate is engraved with the horse's name, level of competition and number of scores. Can someone explain this though? Once you earn the first plate, do you have to continue earning five scores each year to earn the next plate, or do you just need one score of 60% or better? Either way, the 2012 show season has begun and my goal is to earn a plate. My first opportunity will be at the Clovis show at the end of this month, and I'll have a second chance two weeks later at the show here in Bakersfield over Veteran's Day weekend.
Slightly off the subject here ... While I am not 100% sure, I am pretty sure that the above 65.500% is a qualifying score for the 2012 Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC). CDS doesn't have the date for when the 2012 qualifying seasons opens, but last year qualifying opened on September 2, 2010. My score was earned on September 25, 2011 so I hope it falls within the qualifying window. If so, I only need one more score to qualify for next fall's RAAC. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I'll get the second score in Clovis or here in Bakersfield.
It's not that a certificate for Introductory C is any big deal, but I am extremely goal oriented. I need something to work toward. The American Endurance Ride Conference has a well-established award system. It's not fancy, but it's a way to track your success. The top riders, both of whom I had the pleasure to ride with, have over 60,000 race miles. Yes, I typed that correctly. Over 60,000! My final mileage was 3,585. Not even close, but it didn't matter because AERC awarded me with a token of recognition each time I reached a new plateau.
For beginning riders, each 250 miles is awarded a chevron patch, much like CDS's certificate for Introductory C. Once a rider reaches 1,000 miles, chevrons are awarded each 1,000 miles thereafter. If you click on the picture, you'll see that there is a space for my 4,000th mile patch. I was short just 415 miles and while they don't seem like much, it turned out to be more difficult to ride them than to write about them. I will always be a bit sad that I never filled the space.
AERC also honored our horses with medals each time they reached a 1,000 mile plateau. Montoya DSA earned 2 medals and was only 250 miles short of her third before passing in 2010.
AERC's chevrons and medals were just small tokens, but for a goal-oriented rider, they provided a validation of the effort that I put in week after week, year after year. If CDS does send me a certificate for this year's mini accomplishment, I will proudly display it on the wall next to my AERC chevrons and Montoya's medals. And if I do earn that plate for 2012? You'll see it hanging on my wall next fall as well!
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%: