From Endurance to Dressage
I may have mentioned that I was riding with Chemaine this month, but I didn't really elaborate or clarify. What started as a few lessons split between me and another rider across town ended up being an actual clinic, albeit a very casual one.
In all started in late July when Chemaine suggested that she could drive the two hours to Bakersfield to give me (and another rider) lessons. She stipulated that she needed at least four lessons between us (we both have two horses), but more riders would make the trip worth her time. I started sending out message to anyone who I thought might be interested. In all, we ended up with eight lessons, a full day!
I will say that organizing a clinic, even a casual one, is not for the faint of heart. I don't know if it's just riders or people in general, but we're a fickle, high maintenance group of individuals. We had riders who don't deal with the heat, riders without trailers, riders who live across town, and riders with at least one crazy horse (I am raising my hand). I have put on one other clinic, and I've certainly attended a few, so I felt pretty confident that I could pull it off, even with all of the special requests.
Chemaine and I messaged back and forth until we had her travel arrangements sorted. From there, it was just a matter of scheduling the rides. In the end, the first three rides were scheduled at a barn on the west side of town. This worked out fine as that barn wasn't too far off the highway. From there, Chemaine ended up traveling another 40 minutes to reach my barn which is on the extreme east side of town.
Even though the clinic was to be casual, I wanted everyone to feel relaxed and comfortable, so I loaded up the ice chest with a case of bottled water and snacks galore. My husband, who works for a major table grape grower, stopped by one of the vineyards on Friday night and hand picked a box of grapes for us - delicious!
While the original plan was just to have a lesson or two, I realized that if I was having company, I wanted to make sure the barn was extra clean and welcoming. During the week, I printed out waivers, made directional posters, planned for chairs, swept, cleaned out the arena water trough, and made sure that the poles that form my little dressage court were straight and accurate.
The morning of the clinic, I set up a small "hospitality" area with snacks and drinks and chairs (later manned by Chemaine's fabulous family crew). I dragged my sprinklers around for several hours, soaking the footing. When there is no breeze here, the dust hangs in the air which is a real nuisance.
Once everything was in place, I jumped in my truck and zipped over to a nearby barn to pick up our trailer-less rider. Her boy hopped in with nary a complaint and unloaded just as nicely. Since he was to be at my barn for the entire day, I had arranged for him to hang out in the turnout next door, the same one that I use for Izzy. Just as we were finishing turning him out, our first rider pulled in.
Our two riders with heat sensitivity rode first, even though the coolest part of the morning was long past. Chemaine started teaching at 7:00 a.m. across town, but it was 10:30 before our first rider was able to start. By then it was already 88℉ and climbing.
Even though it was toasty, everyone kept a positive attitude about the heat. There was a small bit of shade in the arena, so Chemaine was able to escape some of the sun when she needed to cool off. The rest of us had a lovely shaded area in which to hang out and watch the riders. Our wash rack is right next to the barn and arena, so each horse was able to have a cooling shower after their ride.
Since I was riding two horses, I rode third and fifth. The rider in between my two lessons does western dressage, so that was a lot of fun to watch. She's an excellent rider and her horse is very well schooled.
As I was cooling off and untacking Izzy, the group jumped in and put away the chairs and packed up the food and drinks. We had a late lunch/early dinner reservation at a nearby Mexican restaurant so Chemaine and her awesome teens went to my house to regroup while I drove our trailer-less rider back to her barn.
Dinners with Chemaine are always a boisterous and fun affair and this one was no different. Nine of us ended up sitting around a large round table. We shared funny stories and throughly enjoyed ourselves. And of course, every one wanted to know when Chemaine is coming back.
I am working on it, ladies!
Part 2 tomorrow ...
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%: