From Endurance to Dressage
It is slightly disconcerting to feel over-the-moon excited while at the same time feeling terrified down to my toes. It's left me feeling a bit out of sorts over the past week or so. I haven't written about it because I call it "borrowing trouble." Nothing has happened ... yet, and for all I know, things are going to go better than I expect.
Chemaine Hurtado, owner and trainer of Symphony Dressage Stables based in Moorpark, California, is the dressage clinician at this year's Horse Expo in Pomona. She's also my dressage trainer.
This is a fantastic opportunity for her. She'll get to share her "brand" of dressage, and since Pomona is only a short drive from Moorpark, she'll have the chance to connect with other well-known trainers and future clients.
Chemaine's clients are affectionately known as Team Symphony. Whether you have a horse in full training or you just catch a few lessons a month, like me, you are part of the team. Chemaine's clients proudly sport the Symphony logo on everything from saddle pads, to window stickers, and of course on t-shirts and jackets.
All of this sounds great, right? So where does the terrified part come in? Well ... Chemaine asked me to be one of her demo riders. Before you get too excited, I think her pool of eligible candidates was fairly small. You see, I was asked to be a demo rider for her third clinic which is one where she wants to focus on non-traditional breeds doing dressage. That's us.
Each day's riding clinic focuses on something different. The first two days are pretty traditional. For these two days, Chemaine's assistant, daughter, and my dear friend, Jen (who this year moved to the FEI level) will be her riders.
On Sunday, I will be riding Speedy G along with Sarah and her quarter horse, Reno, and a third rider who will be aboard Van, an event horse.
I tried to talk Chemaine out of using us, not because I don't think it will be a super awesome experience, but because I worry about not being good enough to be a demo rider for an event that attracts tens of thousands of people. ACK. I am freaked out just writing this.
I am not worried about looking like an idiot and embarrassing myself. Seriously - I do that all the time on the internet. I am more terrified of blowing Chemaine's opportunity to showcase her program. What if people look at me and think, Crap! That's the best this trainer can do?
Chemaine asked me to be a rider at least a month ago, but I hesitated to share the news because a) Speedy was lame and not looking like he was going to make it; and b) I didn't want people to get all excited for me before I had done anything worth getting excited about.
It should not have surprised me that Chemaine insisted I wasn't going to ruin her chances at making a good impression. And really, if the topic is "The Horse You Rode In On," we should provide excellent fodder for how great dressage is for every horse. I've insisted that Chemaine correct all of our goofs as I don't want her audience thinking she's an idiot. Me, fine, but she should look like she knows what she's doing.
Besides doing riding clinics, Chemaine is also teaching her yoga ball series. She'll have an area set up with yoga balls for attendees to come and try out her yoga ball techniques. It's also a way for people to get to meet her and ask questions. Chemaine's schedule for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday is here. Check it out.
I am leaving early on Saturday morning with best friend coming along as groom and my moral support. We'll get Speedy checked in, and then we'll spend the day checking out the vendors and other clinics. We'll definitely be at Chemaine's presentations as well.
I ride on Sunday. If you happen to be at Expo this weekend, please look me up and say hi. You can email me from the link above or message me on Facebook. I hope that at least some of you will check out Chemaine's clinics. it's going to be a good time!
See you all on Monday!
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
*** SCEC 10/15-16/22
2022 Completed …
(*) Tehachapi 5/22/22
(*) Tehachapi 7/24/22
(***) Tehachapi 8/28/22
2023 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
Qualifying Training Level
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%:
Score 1: 62.115%