From Endurance to Dressage
How's It Rated?
Speedy and I are off to a CDS show this morning. I've talked about this before, but many of you are probably wondering what a CDS show is. The California Dressage Society (CDS), is my United States Dressage Federation (USDF) Group Member Organization (GMO). CDS is one of the largest GMOs under the USDF umbrella. There are more than 3,200 members in the California Dressage Society.
You can look up any GMO and see the names of each member, including their USDF membership number. Click here for the CDS roster.
Unlike schooling shows, CDS-rated shows carry some weight, meaning the scores count for the CDS Championship (last year there were more than 1,500 tests ridden at the Championship), the Regional Adult Amateur Competition (North, Central, and South), and a host of other awards programs (rosettes).
The show we're doing is only rated CDS; it is not a USDF/USEF show. CDS-only shows are cheaper than USDF/USEF shows, and they tend to be one day shows. They do use USEF-licensed judges, and formal show attire is standard.
For this show, I am aiming for scores of 60%. Scoring at a CDS-only show is typically 5 - 10% higher than at a USDF show, but not always. The judge at this show is an "R" judge (registered), meaning she can judge all of the tests through Fourth Level. "R" judges are sometimes known for being tougher than the "S" (senior) judges who can judge all levels at national shows.
If I can get two scores of 60% or better, Speedy and I will be qualified for the Southern Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC). We've been to the RAAC three years running, and have done fairly well. The first year we won the Introductory Level Novice class, but tanked at Training Level with a 57%. And even though we were the only entry in the Intro class, we scored a very respectable 67%, which was the highest Intro score posted for the three regions.
The next year, we showed at Training Level only, but again our score of 61% kept us at the back of the pack. Persistence pays off however, as last year we once again won a RAAC class, this time at Training Level, with a whopping 72%.
As in 2013, I don't think we can be competitive at First Level if we make it to the 2015 RAAC. I don't care though. It's a fun show for Adult Amateurs only. I enjoy the atmosphere and the chance to see how I stack up against my fellow riders. Sometimes we've done well, other times we've been dead last (twice!).
And to make this year's RAAC even tougher for me, riders who have competed at a CDS Championship Show, that would be me, are required to compete in the Elite division rather than in the Novice classes. I know that rules are rules, but many of us have discussed this rule with a former CDS president.
It was suggested that it might be more "fair" to only show in the Elite Division if you've shown at that same level at the Championship. Meaning, if you showed Training Level at the Championship, but three years later you are on a new horse, but still showing Training Level, you should show in the Elite classes. Conversely, if you are moving up the levels, and you are showing at a level you've never shown before, you should be able to return to Novice Level for the RAAC.
The rule hasn't been changed, so if we get our qualifying scores, Speedy and I will be showing in the Elite division at RAAC. But you know, the rest of the riders in the class might be in my same boat experience-wise, so I guess it all evens out in the wash.
In any case, wish us luck. I'd sure like to make it to the regional show whether we're competitive or not!
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%: