From Endurance to Dressage
I have so much to share about this weekend's Western States Horse Expo in Sacramento, but I am tired and need to get to the barn. So for today, here are two blooper moments to get things rolling.
Chemaine Hurtado, owner and trainer at Symphony Dressage Stables, was the dressage clinician for this year's Horse Expo. She jumped in to fill in for the cancelled Charles de Kunffy. The quickie plan was to use her own mare to demo the upper level stuff while Stella and I would show off our lower level moves. Unfortunately, Chemaine's mare had an accident in her stall and was unable to perform. That left Chemaine a wee bit short handed.
Even though another demo rider for a separate clinician offered to help fill in, Chemaine was still without a horse to show the "cool" stuff. I've known Chemaine for a while and trust her implicitly, so I told her she could ask Speedy and me to do anything, and we'd give it our best shot.
Little did I know what we were in for! Chemaine decided we could do a little canter half pass. What?! Yeah, I know. It was a baby one, so don't get too excited. The exercise went like this: canter with haunches in on the long side. Keep the haunches in as we turned down centerline. At the end of the next long side, we kept haunches in, but turned down the quarter line (think a large pirouette) and moved back to the rail - canter half pass.
Eventually, we did get it, but not the first 20 times we tried. Speedy flipped me the bird at having to canter haunches in, so I popped him with the whip. That elicited a dramatic HELL NO! that came with a second and larger buck. Since my leg was so far back while insisting on the haunches in, he literally bucked himself out from under me.
For a moment, it felt as though I could just step out of my stirrup, but the riding gods weren't on my side that day. Instead, I landed on my side (no worries, it's well padded!). Of course, I refused to let go of the reins because I was jerking on him for being such a jerk which then snapped my reins at the buckle.
I wasn't hurt at all, and in fact jumped up and got back on to finish the exercise. Sadly, while there were hundreds of photos, we didn't capture that moment. But, the next day, we did get this fabulous shot.
Unlike my rodeo moment, Stella stuck the spook quite nicely and had Coco back on track two strides later. There is nothing quite like having an audience at your worst moments. I joked that I knew I had an involuntary dismount pending as it's been years since I've come off, and I am so glad it was off of Speedy rather than the slightly taller Izzy!
What a weekend!
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%: