From Endurance to Dressage
Well, for goodness sake! It's either not enough contact, or too much. It seems that for Introductory Level I am now riding with too much contact and now need to lengthen my reins. Yep. You heard me right. Lengthen my reins. While frustrating as this may be, both tests went very well on Sunday, and I am quite pleased with how we did. I kept my elbows bent; I know because I peeked down quite a few times to check. I also kept my leg long, and I sat up straight. And while Speedy G didn't kick out or buck at the canter, it still wasn't the transition that we can do at home. Here's a copy of Test B; Test C will follow down below.
It was quite warm when I arrived in Tehachapi and I was very grateful that coats were waived for all riders. It was so hot that my warm up lasted about three minutes, and when I was called to the "on-deck" position, Speedy G stood happily at the fence without fussing or pacing. I was called in and as usual, I approached the judge with my number and confirmed which test I was to ride. The scribe, a member of the show committee, gave me a cheerful, "Ride him!" The judge gave a warm laugh and encouraged me to have a great ride. Nice!
We rode the test without going off course and no whistles in error by the judge, both of which happened last month. There wasn't anything that went wrong with the ride. Speedy G was well behaved and tried to give me a good ride. Most of the errors seemed to belong to me. I need to allow him to stretch into the contact and be less restrictive.
At the end of the test, I could see that there was no "on deck" rider waiting. I asked the ring steward if we were ahead of schedule, and when she confirmed that we were, I volunteered to ride my second test right then. The judge was delighted with my enthusiasm and gave me the go ahead. As hot as it was, I knew that waiting forty-five minutes for my second test wasn't going to do either of us any good, so we rode again. Here's Test C:
Again, you can see the judge's comments stating that I need to allow Speedy G to stretch down into the contact. But look at movement 13, the final score for the actual test. It's an 8! I've had one or two before, but they were for the free walk. This was for a difficult movement, straightness at the trot. AND ... this particular movement requires the horse and rider to trot right at the judge who was standing up to get a GOOD view. I'll admit it. I am a bit proud of it.
A bit later in the morning, while I was waiting for my test to be given back, I was chatting with some of the volunteers about my rides. I had some questions and they were happy to share their thoughts with me. When the judge walked in for his break, several of the ladies encouraged me to ask him directly about his comments. Eek! Really? Well, okay!
I walked up to him, looking brave and confident but feeling like a dork, and asked him if it was okay for me to ask him questions about his remarks. When he said sure with a warm smile, I reminded him of which rider I was. My questions had to do with shortening my reins and establishing contact. How can I establish contact and lengthen my reins? He explained that at Introductory Level, the purpose was to teach the horse to reach for the contact. This means that the reins need to be slightly longer and that the rider needs to encourage the horse to lengthen without hurrying. Hmm ... This sounds like very good advice and something that we will continue to work on. The judge also added that I will easily earn more points if I allow Speedy to reach forward instead of restricting his movement. More points equals a higher score. We can do that!
Overall, I am tickled to death with our rides, regardless of the nice scores. I know how it felt, and I am happy! In case you missed it in my earlier post, our score for Intro B was 63.125% and Intro C was 62.00%
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%: