From Endurance to Dressage
I went to bed on Saturday night feeling excited about Sunday's rides. We are definitely improving; it might not be by much, but we are certainly headed in the right direction. Last year, we had the occasional 4, a slew of 5s, a few 6s, and if we were lucky, a 7. This season, I am not seeing the 4s, the 5s are appearing less and less, and we're bumping those 6s to 6.5, 7, and even the occasional 8.
There was a scheduling change made after the original ride times were posted. My Saturday ride times were changed slightly, which was no big deal; the changes in the times doesn't throw me. Before I went to bed on Saturday night, I decided to run back down to the show office to confirm my ride times for Sunday. A quick glance revealed that I had been scheduled to ride at 1:56 and 2:00 in two different arenas. Well that certainly wasn't going to work.
Early Sunday morning, I returned to the show office to reschedule with the show secretary. I lucked out by getting an abandoned time from a scratched rider, 11:34 a.m. This worked out well since Speedy grouses about riding both tests back-to-back. The only unusual aspect, for me anyway, was that I was going to ride Test 3 first. I was looking forward to this opportunity as I usually score lower on the second test. This would give me the chance to see if it is because it is a harder test or if it is because Speedy just grumbles about working twice in a day.
Chemaine Hurtado, a local trainer that I have met several times before, had her horses stabled near Speedy G. Having met her and her clients before, I spent some time visiting with them and talking about riding the tests as an FEI level rider; Chemaine is quite accomplished. Not only is she a very talented rider, but she is one of the nicest people you'll ever meet (as are her clients and students).
As we were watching other horses warm up and school, I took a chance and asked her how I might fix the "head tilt" thing as well as what she thought I might try to get Speedy straighter and off my inside leg. She very kindly talked me through a few suggestions. She explained the head tilt (left hand is stiff while right hand is following) and suggested I open my outside rein when I need him to move his shoulder out.
As I warmed up, I kept Chemaine's words in mind. Opening the outside rein was immediately helpful. I also focused on keeping a more even feel in my contact. While I am still not even in my contact, I know it improved just by being aware of what I was doing.
I loved riding Test 3; it was fun, and I felt a new sense of balance. Our scores were very good. We did score a 5.5 for the right lead canter and a 5.5 for the stretchy trot, but all the other scores improved. We earned FIVE 7s for the directives, two 6.5s, and four 6s. That means that seven of the thirteen scores were 6.5 or higher. Even better, eleven of the thirteen scores were 6s and above!
Even though we didn't win the class, I was elated! Eliminating the 4s and 5s made me feel quite successful. Here are a few photos of Training Level Test 3.
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%: