From Endurance to Dressage
My ride times were fairly late in the morning which is always nice. I was able to take Speedy for a good walk in the morning followed by a rather scary lunge. He always insists on being hand walked before the sun comes up. It's a good thing I am an early riser.
At this venue, I always hand walk him around the cross country field. Once I am tired of jogging with him, I grab my lunge line to let him play. To make the footing soft enough, the facility spreads composted manure. This makes the top layer pretty soft, but unfortunately, there had been a massive amount of rain the week before. Under the fluffy top layer was a soaked layer of clay; I didn't know that until later.
Speedy was cantering around really nicely on a long line when all of a sudden his hind legs shot out from under him and his whole body hit the ground, even his face. He scrambled back up to his feet with a really surprised look on his face. My heart sank. He looked fine as he walked off, but he was super muddy. The ground was soft enough that he wasn't injured on the surface, but all weekend I worried a bit about a strain. There was no need to worry though; he was fine.
I warmed Speedy up with Chemaine coaching. We went through the exercises from the day before, and Speedy felt great. He was listening and rounding up without being particularly heavy or resistant. I was excited and feeling pretty confident. My first test was First Level, Test 2.
When the judge rang the bell, I entered at A and suddenly had a different horse. Speedy's energy oozed out of his body and he became a wet rag. It took all of my strength to push him to X. The whole test rode that way. He was very obedient, but excessively sluggish. If I had taken my leg off for a single moment, he would have come to a screeching halt.
Chemaine later said that the test was super steady, but lacked any kind of thrust or forward thinking energy. The judge gave us a 61.406% with the comment " ... ride more ground covering strides in lengthenings." Ya think?! Every remark had that same tone - needs more. She was completely right. Click thumbprints to see the judge's scores and remarks.
My second test, First Level - Test 3, came after the very next rider. Chemaine's advice was to rev him up a little on the outside of the court before I entered at A. I got a little "more" out of him, but the second test rode much like the first - steady, but with no wow moments. We earned a 60.735%.
The second I put Speedy back in his stall to untack, he took a HUGE pee. Aha. That explained the sluggish behavior. Speedy is NEVER behind my leg at a show. The second he enters at A, he is always excited and happy to be there.
I was a teeny bit disappointed in our effort, but knowing why he was a pile of molasses makes me feel better. My goal was to break 60% for each test that we rode, and we did that. The judge was quite fair in her assessment; she wasn't generous or stingy. I think she did reward Speedy's methodical steadiness though. Had he been more energetic, those 6.0s could have easily been 6.5s or even 7.0s.
Later that evening, I was able to meet up with Sarah of Eventing in Color for dinner in Camarillo. We've been friends for a while now, so our visits are always about catching up on what's happening in life. We must have had a lot of sharing to do because dinner lasted three hours! The waiter was patient however, and no one kicked us out before we were ready.
Day two 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%: