From Endurance to Dressage
I sometimes wonder if I would pursue dressage if no awards were offered. Think about it. Would you bust your chops to get that next score if no certificate and patch were offered? What about getting that last Third Level score for a bronze if no bronze medal existed?
I am going to say that I would probably not be involved in dressage if it were not for the award programs offered by USDF and my own GMO, the California Dressage Society (CDS). I am a competitive person and highly goal oriented. While my motivation is mainly intrinsic - I am proud of a job well done, I do crave public recognition in the form of external rewards. I need at least some extrinsic motivation to propel me forward.
Fortunately, most of my motivation comes from within. Had I been the type who craves recognition in the form of podiums and endorsements, I would have quit long ago. Not to say there's anything wrong with being rewarded so dramatically; it's just that I would have lived life perpetually disappointed. I am simply not good enough to earn such a powerful spotlight.
I am good enough to earn certificates though, and Speedy and I have earned a pile of them! Since certificates are cheap, USDF and CDS can afford to be generous in how they're handed out. It is surprising how hard I have worked, and how much preparation and planning it took, to earn those certificates. While they may simply be a few words mass printed on a page, for me, they represent hard work and acknowledgement of a goal achieved.
Speedy and I were pretty successful this year if that success is measured by ribbons, trinkets, and certificates. The wins didn't come at CDIs and my competition was often just me, but I'll take those shiny small moments and hang them where they will continue to inspire me to keep trying.
What about you? Does your motivation come from within, or do you crave tangible proof of your success?
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%: