From Endurance to Dressage
I know this seems like such an embarrassing thing to say, but here's the deal: Everyone has to start somewhere. We can't all be Isabell Werth or Steffen Peters. Dressage Today had a great article in the February 2012 issue entitled, "The Beauty of Being a Beginner." Cindy Sydnor, the author, writes (pg. 70), "Being a beginner is great. Your attitude is, 'I'm here. I want to learn to ride. Please teach me.' [ ...] When a student keeps trying not to be a beginner and envisions her path to be a predictable staircase that she wants to climb in yearly intervals, learning can actually come to a grinding halt. [...] Enjoy the beginning because it is actually what you will need the most until the very end. Even Einstein was a beginner once."
So you see, I am not embarrassed to be a beginner. In fact, I know that as a beginner I am learning mountains of things that are crucial to know before moving on. If I try and skip these first steps, I'll never really know why horses soften or why they won't. Bringing along my own, two very different boys, is providing me with a wonderful education that I would never get had I bought a schoolmaster or a horse already on his way. As I write I am basking in the glow of a fabulous ride on Sydney. I worked and worked on getting a stretch over the topline and was rewarded with some wonderfully relaxed, stretchy strides. He felt it, I felt it, we both took deep sighs of ooooohhhh. I asked correctly, after months of trial and error, and he found the right answer. We did that together. Here's to beginners!
There is a reason for this talk about beginners. My certificate from the California Dressage Society finally arrived. I know it's not a big deal, but I really appreciate the recognition. To me, the introductory certificate says, You braved the showing world as a beginner and you achieved something. Be proud! The certificate is earned by CDS members who achieve scores of 60% or better at Introductory C Level or above in a single show season (not to exceed 4 scores). The scores must come from a CDS rated show. Once you earn 5 or more scores in a single show season, you earn a plate. That's my goal for 2012. I already have one score on the books and am looking for 4 more. Here's the certificate.
And here's what I did with it. The three ribbons are from the three shows where I earned the necessary scores (60.500%, 62.000%, and 65.500%).
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%: