From Endurance to Dressage
Championship - Success?
Before I say another word, I need to offer my sincerest thanks for your many comments and feedback. I've read every comment, and although I love to respond to all comments personally, I just have not had the time to do so. So again, thank you for taking the time to send me your good luck wishes and congratulations; they were genuinely appreciated.
On the way home from the show, I called my dearest friend in the world to talk about the show. We've been friends for twenty years, so I can count on her to be honest and truthful with me even when I don't want to hear what she has to say. Her reaction to our placing surprised me. She asked if when I first started dressage (four years ago) did I ever imagine I'd be where I am today. What?! But I am nowhere. Four years later and I am still at training level. My response shocked her. That led me to do a lot of thinking.
To be completely honest, I want to be good, really good. I want to win classes and move through the levels quickly. I want a fancy horse and a dressage trainer that I see several times a week. We all want those things, I am sure of it. The thing is, I could probably have those things, but I'd have to give up the life that I am leading right now in order to have them.
I am not willing to do that. I could buy a better horse and move him to a barn in Ventura, and I could drive down there every weekend and train. But if I did that, the balanced life that I have created for myself would disappear. My husband would probably divorce me, we wouldn't be able to travel around the world like we've been doing for the past 20 years, and I would always be counting my pennies.
How do I measure success then? I am not going to win at the big shows, obviously, but does that make me unsuccessful? At first, I did feel a bit of disappointment. I had told myself that middle of the field was "successful" and everything lower than that was not - for me. But after reading all of your many comments, I decided to be happy with simply having gone and competed.
At the show, I also realized that I wasn't actually competing with just adult amateurs like myself. As several of my friends pointed out, many of the AA riders are actually assistant trainers and many of the other riders have horses in full time training. That my scores were even in the same atmosphere should make me proud (Rarefied Air is what one friend calls it).
I bet that many of those assistant trainers and riders with horses in full training don't get to have half the fun that I do in the rest of my life. I think I would rather have the whole package (a great marriage, travel, a second horse, the cabin, etc.) rather than do what it would take for me to win at the big shows.
So let me raise my cup and salute those who have chosen a different path in life than me; I wish them nothing but success. As for me and my house, we'll be just as happy without that tenth place ribbon as we plan our next vacation and play fetch with the dog.
10/6/2014 12:12:26 am
10/6/2014 01:11:53 am
AMEN to that!
I'm a bit behind on comments so I'll be reading some of these in reverse, but there's nothing wrong with either path as you've pointed off. For what you have and where you board and who you train with, you should be OVER THE MOON because you're pretty bad ass ;)
10/12/2014 08:18:05 am
We're working on it! :0)
10/6/2014 04:35:02 am
I have absolutely loved your attitude through the whole championships, and have been cheering you on from afar. Like many of us bloggers, you're a "true" Adult Amateur - you train your (ex endurance!!) horse yourself. Your success is more valuable because it's YOURS, all yours. In some ways, importing a fancy WB and having a trainer ride it 6 days a week is the easy way out - sure might win, but at that point, you'd expect it, right? But with you and Speedy, it's all your hard work, all your sweat, all your trials and tribulations. And most of all, it's a wonderful partnership with a really special horse, and some amazing memories.
10/12/2014 08:20:10 am
Thank you, Jen. That's very kind of you to say. I had a GREAT time at the championship and can't believe how much I learned. It was completely worth the effort of going, and I am flattered that you enjoyed the telling of my little odyssey.
10/6/2014 08:18:41 am
Very well said. Great perspective!
10/12/2014 08:32:11 am
Thanks, all. :0)
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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%: