From Endurance to Dressage
For those that don't know, this past spring I started riding with Sean Cunningham, owner and trainer at STC Dressage. I have found him to be highly knowledgeable, insightful, talented, patient, and compassionate to both horse and rider. He's never in a hurry. To the contrary; he truly embraces the idea that it takes the time that it takes.
I saw this message pop up on social media earlier this week, and it spoke to me instantly and profoundly. I asked him if I could share it here because I thought you too, might appreciate his message, "don't stray too far from the pitchfork."
It wasn't that many years ago that I lost my way a bit. I was involved with a partner whose goals weren’t aligned with mine & as a result ran my business & my life into the ground. I have been spending a significant amount of my day holding a pitchfork ever since.
The benefit from this reality check - which for me embodies everything this quote is about - is that I've been able to get closer to my horses than ever before. Wearing multiple hats in the barn, mucking out, feeding, grooming, riding, etc. allows me to see the horses from every angle day in and day out.
Knowing my horses' habits in an even more intimate way has helped the details in my riding evolve as well. Time in the barn cannot help but carry over to time in the saddle.
With business expanding, I'm starting to hire help again. While I'm not going to be spending as much time holding a pitchfork anymore, I'll never stray too far from it.
Being a real horseman/woman is about so much more than just chasing the next championship. After all, those championships wouldn’t be possible if we didn’t take hands on care of our horses and know every detail about them. That will always start in the barn, with a pitchfork.
- Sean Cunningham, owner and trainer at STC Dressage
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%: