From Endurance to Dressage
... and I am terrified. I always felt some level of anxiety when I showed Speedy, but that always came from a desire to do well. I didn't want to let my trainer down, and I was hunting for scores, the higher the better. I never worried about being such a failure that the judge might actually dismiss us. That's a real concern this weekend.
On one hand, Izzy has been doing really well lately. I am finding better ways to manage his tension, and I'll have Sean Cunningham, owner and trainer at STC Dressage, coaching us. On the other hand, we scored in the 40s at our last show. Was that because Izzy just can't handle the stress at a show, or was it because the wind was blowing 60 miles an hour, we were in a coliseum, and the tin roofing panels were banging and clanging the whole time? Whatever the reason, that show gave my confidence two black eyes.
We're showing at SCEC, the place were we scored "okay" the month before that hot mess of a November show. At SCEC last October, we scored a 55%, two 58%s, and a 60%. Not anything to be proud of, but those scores proved I was on the right track. It was Izzy's first USDF show, first time showing at Second Level, and first two-day show. Even though he was very tense, and I was on the verge of scratch that last test, we survived.
For this go round at SCEC, I've made a new plan. Instead of stabling at SCEC, we're going to stable st STC Dressage which is just minutes away from the show grounds. The barn is very quiet and peaceful. My plan is to school at SCEC with Sean on Friday evening, and then take Izzy to STC Dressage where he can hopefully relax in the quieter atmosphere. We'll trailer over to SCEC each morning, ride out tests, and then go back to Sean's place. After Sunday's tests, I'll just head home.
Another surprise benefit is how small this show has turned out to be. Last fall, there were two rings that ran all day. The warm up was jam packed, and the barns were completely full. This time, there is only one ring, and the show will be over by about noon each day. Since the show is so small, the second ring, which is right next to the show ring, will serve as the warm up. This is great because Izzy can watch what's happening, and when we're up, he won't have to leave the area he just got comfortable being in.
I've never hoped for scores in the 50s before, but after scoring a 44%, 59% is looking really good. Of course, my goal is always 60% and above. Will we get it? I have no idea. My plan is to manage Izzy's stress level by being a confident and relaxed leader (hopefully Sean helps me with that), taking care of Izzy's tummy with the GastroElm, and stabling him somewhere familiar. My fingers are crossed that he has a much more positive experience.
Wish us luck!
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%: