From Endurance to Dressage
There is one, I repeat ONE dressage show in the city of Bakersfield. Did you know that Bakersfield is the ninth largest city in the most populous state in the nation? Aren't at least some of those 400,000 people even a little bit interested in horse dancing? Apparently not.
That show is next weekend. I did something today that I've never done before, and probably couldn't ever do at a "regular" show - I sent two entries with a note saying I would call later to confirm which horse I actually planned on riding. I guess there is a silver lining to living in an area that can barely scrape together enough riders for one little show a year.
Speedy looks 99% sound, but I won't know for sure until I ride him tomorrow. If he's sound, I'd rather show him than Izzy. As I was thinking about what to do, my first thought was that he hasn't been ridden in more than a week. Immediately after, the most arrogant, get ready to be stricken by lighting thought popped into my head.
Get ready for it ...
I actually thought It's only First Level.
Really. I did. I can remember when I would have chopped off an arm, or at least a toe to compete at First Level. And now, here I am dismissing the level as though a 65% is a gimme. Trust me, it's not. In any case, Speedy is such an awesome horse that I have every confidence in his ability to tote me around at First Level no matter how little he's been ridden. He's just that forgiving of a horse.
If I ride Speedy this weekend though and he still seems off, I'm dragging the big brown horse to the show for another round of exposure. I don't feel exactly ready to start showing Izzy this year, but it's a cheap show with no gas or travel expenses.
As I was filling out the entry, my pen wavered back and forth between Intro C and Training Level 2 - Test 1 was already a given. I've never ridden the 2015 Training Level tests, so when I saw test 2, I was all what the what?!?! That thing looks HARD! Decision made - If we show, we're doing Intro Test C and Training Level Test 1.
With that in mind, I've been hard at work. While Izzy is still an idiot for every ride, the jackassery varies throughout the week. After a day or two off, I am guaranteed 45 minutes of DUDE! As the week progresses, it dwindles down to Aw ... aren't you sweet.
The thing I am most proud of is our canter work. While the holy crap moments are still there, we have a confirmed left and right lead canter. I am now just improving the bend, suppleness, and submissiveness. He was a real ass the other day to the right, but I stumbled on an exercise that fixed him right up.
Since he wanted to brace and stiffen and and throw his shoulders around to the right, I just stuck him in a ten-meter canter circle until he was begging to go straight. Each time he tried to dive in, I let him. I circled him tighter and tighter, forcing him to really sit until he was thrilled about cantering straight.
Training Level is where they have to start cantering the long side, so I am just working on strategies to help him learn that he can go straight. So Training Level, be prepared ... we're coming for you! First Level, you've got nothing to worry about. Speedy's got you covered!
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%: