From Endurance to Dressage
My drug of choice ... the pedicure
All of the stuff you've been reading this week was written over the weekend. It's all stuff I care about, but I knew ahead of time that this would be a very, very tiring week. This is the first moment in days that I've even felt like writing, and normally, I can't wait to sit down and write about my horses, my riding, or what I think about my horses and riding.
We've had parent/teacher conferences this week. I've enjoyed meeting my students' parents, but finding the time to meet with 30 parents with only a one-hour minimum day has been hard. I've had to start my conferences at 7:00 a.m. which means I get to work at 6:15 a.m. Seriously?!
I had a lesson on Monday which went great, but I didn't go to the barn on Tuesday. I just didn't have the energy. And even after eight parent conferences and a full day of teaching, I did ride again on Wednesday. Sydney was Awful (with a capital A), but I persevered. Thursday? I just couldn't do it. My mind was literally too numb. Instead, I stopped by the house for a pair of flip flops and then drove to my local nail salon and got a pedicure.
Pedicures are my drug of choice. My local salon has full spa-style pedis: massage chair, foot bath, foot scrub, foot and leg massage, and so on. It's pure bliss after a long, hard day. Somehow, massaging my feet perked up my brain and Viola, it's back to blogging!
This is a continuing series of photos that illustrates the differences between an endurance seat and a dressage seat.
This photo was taken at the Bear Valley Springs 50 miler. This is a very tough ride due to the lack of flat ground. The trail is historically all single track with climbs and descents. This particular photo was shot as we left the mid-morning vet check. It was a very steep climb. I like that my heels are down and my weight is off of Montoya's loins. I am leaning forward, maybe a bit too much. If you look carefully, you can see the give-away that she was pulling to do the climb faster: her running martingale is fully engaged.
Montoya was very headstrong and wanted to run every race balls out. A popular endurance expression, speed kills, is a very true statement. Most endurance riders know that each horse only has so many miles in them. Speed reduces the number of miles they can ultimately do. Endurance riders "ride a fine line" between fast and too fast. We always go as quickly as the terrain allows, knowing that a misstep at the trot or canter can mean a career ending injury. Our horses don't know this however, and frequently question the speed that we determine is safe. Another expression, never hurry, never tarry, illustrates the best way to finish a race.
We finished this particular ride 24th out of 45 with a ride time of 9 hours and 27 minutes.
Please don't sue me, Dressage Today. I know this article is your property, but the concept is so perfect for me that I have to share it.
By the way, this is my official endorsement of Dressage Today. If you have any interest in riding dressage, you should be a subscriber.
There. Maybe that will keep them from sending me any sort of cease and desist letter.
Here is the article in question. Pay special attention to the illustrations; they make the author's point better than the text. The text follows below.
Think of the rein contact as if you were talking to someone at a comfortable distance across a dinner table. If you expand the distance and stop talking, the person loses attention and becomes distracted. If you suddenly shorten the distance and talk without a break, the person becomes uncomfortable and claustrophobic. - Jane Karol.
I am sharing this because it is the same metaphor that JL uses when I ride Sydney, but she calls it "keeping him in the conversation." Early on I had to work really hard to keep the volume down. That's like being a close talker for all you Seinfeld fans.
Now that my feel is really developing, I use this image of a conversation all the time. In fact I tell Sydney, hey now - stay in the conversation. No leaving. I find that it gives me much more patience and forces me to listen to his end of the conversation.
Can he hear me? No. Shorten the reins.
Is he feeling trapped and uncomfortable? Give him some space.
It seems as though my rides on Sydney are getting better and better in an exponential way. Something has clicked. Maybe I have become a better conversationalist!
I am the head wrangler, Dressage Queen, and Rodeo Princess of my classroom. It's my room, I pick the decor. We're Stallions, as in Sweaney's Stallions. Fortunately the kids indulge me. Here are some of their recent contributions.
Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear. ~Ambrose Redmoon
Every day you either see a scar or courage. Where you dwell will define your struggle. ~Dodinsky
Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I'll try again tomorrow. ~Mary Anne Radmacher
Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear - not absence of fear. Except a creature be part coward it is not a compliment to say it is brave. ~Mark Twain
Courage can't see around corners, but goes around them anyway. ~Mignon McLaughlin
When we are afraid we ought not to occupy ourselves with endeavoring to prove that there is no danger, but in strengthening ourselves to go on in spite of the danger. ~Mark Rutherford
Courage is being scared to death... and saddling up anyway. ~John Wayne
The only courage that matters is the kind that gets you from one moment to the next. ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Second Neurotic's Notebook, 1966
To read more, visit The Quote Garden.
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 Second Level. 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%
2021 Show Season
(r) Ride-a-Test Clinic
(Q) Must Qualify
2021 Pending …
8/7-8 SCEC (***)
10/30-31 SCEC (***)
2021 Completed …
10/24-25 SCEC (***)
11/7-11/8 SB (***)
4/10-11 SCEC (***)
5/16-17 El Sueño (***)
6/26-27 SCEC (***)
7/17-18 El Sueño (***)
2021 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
2nd Level Qualifying
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%:
Score 1: 60.610% Bhathal
2nd Level Qualifying
5 Scores/4 Judges/61%:
Stuff I Read