From Endurance to Dressage
How is it possible to be so disappointed, yet at the same time, have the time of your life? Because that's what this weekend was all about; chagrin followed immediately by merriment. Despondency followed by hilarity. Plain old frustration followed by good natured laughter.
Progress toward earning my USDF Bronze medal is the same as it was on Friday; we have our First and Second Level scores, but we're still missing the two scores from Third Level. I am not going to say we haven't made any progress though as I am gaining a ton of experience by missing the mark. It's expensive experience for sure, but showing is how I learn what we're good at and what needs improving.
I learned that our trot work, when I use the corners effectively and half halt at least occasionally, is Third Level worthy. We're not getting 8.0s, but we rarely did at First or Second either, and there is no shame in that. For Third Level test 1, our collected and medium trot work was firmly in the 6.0 - 7.0 range. The trot half passes at 3-1 were a bit sketchy on Saturday - we lacked a correction position, but I was able to mostly fix that for Sunday's test. We improved our scores from 4.0s/5.0s to 5.5s/6.0s.
The rein back and the turns on the haunches were also just fine. We earned respectable 6.0s and 7.0s. I can hear you asking if you're so solid at Third, why aren't you pulling in those 60% scores? Well, I'll tell you. Speedy's canter got broken this weekend. The best example? He threw in a flying lead change during the medium canter. What the what?! was all I could say.
I am not kidding. Here it is. I can sort of see how it was my fault as I was desperately trying to half halt him so I could get the collected canter. He felt me pick up that outside rein and thought Change? Now? Well if you insist.
On Sunday's Third Level Test 1, we would have had a qualifying score but for one movement. One movement. Speedy would not give me the flying change from left to right. He was set up for it, he looked and felt ready for it, but he would not. Out of sheer desperation, I rocked him back as hard as I could onto his haunches, and he still gave me an emphatic NO. By that point, I had run out of long side and needed to trot at C. What did it look like, that moment of rocking him back on his butt? A lot like this ...
We earned a 1.0 for our nonexistent flying change of lead. With a double coefficient, that movement is worth 20 points. We earned 2. Yeah, that will pretty much kill any shot at a 60%. Way back in the beginning, I had goals like no 5.0s on a test. That's pretty much my goal now except that I need to add a clarification: no 5.0s or lower!
Like I said, highs and lows ... Just as we passed C, preparing for the medium trot (HXF), the judge rang her bell and told me that I was supposed to halt at C. Morgan, Chemaine's daughter, was reading for me, and I know the test pretty well. I was 100% certain I was NOT supposed to halt at C, so I sat at F waiting for the judge to realize her mistake. She gave an audible oops, and apologized profusely. This has actually happened to me before. The judge told me to carry on.
What made it so funny to me was that I didn't feel as though I had revved Speedy up sufficiently for the medium trot anyway. We were coming into it kind of flat, so once the judge sent me back around, I was able to get better organized. She gave us a 6.5 for the medium trot. I don't know if it was because it was a good medium or she just felt guilty. I was happy with the score either way. I usually find it's better to laugh than to get upset, and it was kind of funny.
While I had a great time, I won't lie. I was pretty disappointed at missing that 60%, and there were some teary moments as proof. We're really close though. and it will happen. Maybe not this summer, but we'll get those two scores eventually. Here are both of the Third Level test 1 videos as well as the score sheets side by side. Saturday's 3-1 scores are on the left, and Sunday's 3-1 scores are on the right. The videos, if you're so inclined, follow.
Saturday's Third Level Test 1 here.
Sunday's Third Level Test 1 here.
Third Level Test 3(s) 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%: