From Endurance to Dressage
Over the weekend, Speedy and I did our third USDF-rated show at Third Level. Three is apparently our lucky number. But first, have a look at this beautiful facility.
The Mission Pacific equestrian facility was recently purchased and renamed the Southern California Equestrian Center. Since purchasing the property, the new owner has done a lot of neat things to spruce up the place.
From a previous visit, I remember the lounge as being a dark junk room. Now, it's super clean, modern, and brightly lit. I don't think I would always feel motivated to ride if I had a place like this to hang out in on a hot day.
The second lounge, where the restrooms are located, is even more inviting, especially on a cold day. The large windows in the lounge slide open for fresh air on warmer days. You also get a nice view of the dressage court.
While a comfortable place to take a load off is nice, what's really nice are stalls so huge that you almost don't even need to turn horses out. There are 50 of them!
This year, management reserved the entire left side of the barn for show horses. Full service included pre-bedded stalls, and each day after they cleaned, they added MORE shavings! The automatic waters were super clean stainless steel, so it was nice not to schlepp water buckets back and forth. The guys also fed the hay and pellets I left in front of Speedy's stall. Of course, I checked in on him about 4,000 times to be sure he didn't need anything, but it was nice that I didn't have to feed at 5:30 a.m. like I usually do. The price for full service was $185. I felt like it was totally worth it.
This is truly the largest barn that I've ever been in. I am sure larger ones exist, but they're not that typical here in sunny California. The barn is shaped like a cross with two very long sides stretching from one end to the other and two shorter ends coming off the front and back of the barn.
At the center of the "cross" there is an arm that holds wash racks, tack rooms, and a few other places that I didn't really take the time to check out. Out the back, where the bright white light is, there is a pair of wash racks.
Facing the other way is the new lounge through the first door on the left and the older, more comfy lounge at the end. There is a men's rest room in the middle. On the right hand side, there is a tack room through the first door, a breeze way where the farrier can work, and at the end, an office with a state of the art security monitoring system - in case you were getting any ideas.
The property is vast. There are many pastures and other smaller barns scattered around, but they were too far to visit for photos. As you leave the barn though, you come down to this small ring that I am sure once served as a type of parade ring like you see at race tracks. Now it just connects the various rings and some pastures.
Encircling the grassy ring, dressage court, warm up ring, and several smaller pastures is a quarter mile galloping track, fenced just like a race track.
Speedy and I walked/jogged the track each morning in hand. He loved it. The footing was great, and he was able to really move out which he loves to do before breakfast. On Sunday morning, he even talked me into a full out sprint.
I am not sure what the dressage ring's footing is composed of, but it was quite nice. The warm up was just as nice. To the left of the corner at K is a raised viewing platform that proved to be a great vantage point for watching tests and taking photos.
I ended up parking and camping in the day parking area which meant I did have to haul stuff, like my saddle, back and forth each day, but since I was the only one who camped, I had a super nice view and a very quite camp site.
I am not sure why the shows at SCEC haven't been on my list, but after this visit, you can bet I'll be going back. My very good friend Jen manages the shows which gives me yet another reason to show there next year.
Speaking of showing ... more 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%: