From Endurance to Dressage
When we woke up on Sunday morning, the temperatures were MUCH cooler than they'd been the two days before. That went right along with my plan to get Speedy's hind end motoring. As much as I hate to annoy him by asking him to really engage, I was on a mission to do just that. The cooler weather did a lot of the work for me.
In order for Speedy to develop a better half pass, he simply has to have more energy which means reacting to my leg when I ask. Besides reminding him with a tap-tap of the whip, the other thing I learned was that if we plan to do two Third Level tests in a day, I have to shorten my warm up. I realized that I am using too much of his energy before we even ride the test.
Way back when we were doing Training and even First Level, 20 minutes to warm up was all he needed. Essentially, he just needed to stretch out and loosen up. For Second Level, we needed more like 35 minutes to not only lube everything up, but Speedy also needed reminding that yes, he does HAVE to do what I am asking.
For Third Level, 30-minute warm ups are just too long for us, especially if it's hot. That means I need to get in there and get him responsive to my leg in the first couple of minutes. Even with a plan of only doing a 15-minute warm up on Sunday, I still started a few minutes too soon, and then as luck would have it, things ran about 10 minutes behind. Add that up and you get another 30-minute warm up; just what I was trying to avoid.
Since the warm up ring was adjacent to the test ring, I took a short break to watch the open riders ride 3-1. I was the only adult amateur showing Third Level on Sunday. One rider in particular laid down an awesome 3-1 test. I realized that was how the test was supposed to be ridden. I think she scored a 67%. After watching how she rode it, I made it my mission to sit up, keep Speedy's energy up, and get my scores UP.
Just before we went in, I took a minute to do a hand gallop. I also reminded him that I had the whip in my hand and that my plan was to meet a quota of tap-taps whether he needed it or not. I am just kidding. Mostly.
We didn't score a 67%, but it was the best ridden Third Level test I've done so far. Not that that means anything because my Holy heck we did it! is still a far cry from where we need to be. Just the same, I was really proud of that 62.432%.
Here's the video.
My Third Level Test 3 ride was just two rides after my first. I didn't need to actually do anything in the warm up, but even just walking around I could tell that the test probably wasn't going to go well; Speedy was getting cranky and tired. Multiple taps with the whip will do that.
We earned a frustratingly low 57.625%. After looking over the test though, I was pleasantly surprised to see a long list of 6.0s and 6.5s. We even had a 7.0 for our entry which was back to our normal. You know what got us? The flying changes. We had a 6.5 and a 7.0 on the test just minutes before, but Speedy knows how to get his digs in. He. Just. Would. Not. Change. It was deliberate. Booger.
For the first change, he gave me an emphatic NO. See above. I kept asking though which prompted a late change, a swap back in the front, more lateness, and then he finally got it at about A. It was supposed to be near centerline. Our score for that debacle was a 4.0 that was crossed out and renumbered as a 3.0.
The second change doesn't look too bad on the video, but it was a tad late behind. I think the judge was a bit sick of me by that point because she gave us a 4.0. Even a 4.5 would have been better.
Our combined score for the two flying changes on Test 1 was 26 points; they have a double coefficient. The next two changes? An embarrassing 14 points. Those two flying changes cost us a 60%. It was particularly frustrating because our changes are actually pretty good, maybe even our best Third Level movement. What can you do though? Try, try, try again. That's what.
Here's the video with no editing out of the naughty moments. If you need to feel better about your own riding, this will do it.
For me, showing is worth while if on the drive home I mull over what I learned. I learned a lot at this show which means it was a success. My warm ups need to be shorter and quicker. I need to get Speedy bouncing and energetic. And finally, I learned that we can't do two tests a day for two days.
For our next show, my plan is to show 3-1 and 3-3 on Saturday. Then on Sunday, we'll do 3-1 again just to give me an "easier" shot at getting that last 60% for a Bronze Medal in case we miss it on Saturday. After that, our Sunday's will be reserved for 3-3.
It was a good show.
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%: