From Endurance to Dressage
In case you're not a dressage aficionado, Intro A is the lowest level dressage test that you can ride. It is a walk and trot test only. In fact, the purpose of the test is "to introduce the rider and/or horse to the sport of dressage. To show understanding of riding the horse forward with a steady tempo into an elastic contact with independent, steady hands and a correctly balanced seat. To show proper geometry of figures in the arena with correct bend (corners and circles)."
In other words, it's not rocket science. Even so, I was quite pleased with Izzy's Intro A Test. It's not beautiful, it's not rhythmic, the tempo was wonky, and the rider's hands were all over the place, but it was BETTER than the last two. Take a look.
That halt! Not perfectly square, but it was so soft and forward thinking that the judge rewarded us with an 8! The rest was just so-so, but there was still much to like. Everything Izzy did was distinctly better than in the first two shows he did, and it wasn't because of the different judges. He's just developing confidence.
Here are his scores from all three tests from this season. The last score shown is from this show.
We finished up with a score of 58.750%, 5th in a class of 5, but several other riders finished with scores nearly identical to ours. It was a class of (mostly) very green horses.
A sub-60% score is never what I am looking for, but I was so excited by Izzy's effort. For the first time, there was no spooking, rearing, bucking, squealing, or wild head flinging. He was nervous and worried, but he kept himself together.
In the warm up, I didn't just shoot for survival. I was actually able to school him. He walked down to the test ring without a companion, human or equine, and he walked right into the ring without any hesitation. If you saw our Saturday lesson, you'll know he was quite spooky at C, but for the test, he got tense in front of the judge, but he stayed with me.
As I scrolled through the video, frame by frame, looking for bloopers, I had trouble finding any truly horrible moments. The shot in front of the judge was the most tense and ugly shot I could find. It wasn't a great test, but it wasn't bad either.
I am really excited about this show. Progress, even a little bit, is all I am looking for. My plan for the next few months is a lesson or schooling show every two weeks. I think we're finally getting somewhere!
Next up: the Intro B Test.
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%: