From Endurance to Dressage
On Saturday, my friend Jen and I attended the California Dressage Society's New Test Symposium. I should add that neither Jen nor I were really interested in the changes to the tests because I am not really "showing," and Jen has a young mare that she's not showing yet either. That being said, it was a great event for people who are showing.
The symposium was the Saturday portion of the three-day annual meeting. The keynote speaker was Michael Osinki, who is on the USDF National Test Change committee. The rest of the panel was made up of Hilda Gurney - two time Olympian and USEF "S" judge, Melissa Cresswick, USEF "S" judge, and Janet Curtis, also a USEF "S" judge. The demonstration riders were local professionals including Amelia Newcomb riding Kensington at Fourth Level and Natasha at Grand Prix.
What was most interesting about the symposium was that while one of the judges described the movement, another judge scored the movements aloud with the comments that would have been written on the test. In this way, we could hear the expectation of the test while also hearing the score at the same time. I expected a lot of 7.0s and 8.0s, of which there were plenty - these are professionals after all, but there were also 6.0s, spooks, and misses. When that happened, the judge simply asked the rider to circle and show the movement again. There were even moments when the judge would coach the rider through the movement several times until it was shown to the judge's satisfaction.
Since the Equidome is so large, numerous vendors were set up on the midlevel. There was also a refreshment table with muffins and other snacks. The Annual meeting is also an opportunity for each chapter to put together baskets which are then auctioned off. Some of them were spectacular, particularly my own chapter's. Sorry about the lack of photos, but I was too busy being in the moment. I did place a bid, but we left early and I didn't get a message so I am pretty sure I didn't win.
With the symposium going on and horses and riders dressaging, Jen and I used the time to catch up on each other's lives. In between the chatting - quietly and away from the crowds, a particularly fancy horse, or a botched movement, would catch our eye and we would tune in. We also spotted old friends and chatted with them about their latest projects or successes. While the event was very educational and well presented, I didn't feel too guilty about not tuning in. Being with friends, having lunch, and shopping for stuff I wasn't going to buy did more for my happiness than watching shoulder-in, renvers, and expressive changes ever could.
Being immersed in the horse world with friends was a pretty fulfilling way to spend a Saturday.
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%: