From Endurance to Dressage
The show season has officially begun. For me that is. Some of you might still be in the throws of winter and can't imagine showing so soon. That's California for you - mild winters and hot summers!
Our first show was a schooling show, by design. Why waste money on a rated show when you're just gearing back up? Claudia Roberts puts on the BEST schooling show series: they're fun, cheap, and the venue is fantastic. To see the list of dates for the rest of the series, click here.
I would love to say that we rocked it. Our scores would say so, 69.10% and 67.8%. Pretty good, huh?!
Here's the deal. I am a realist, or is that a pessimist? Schooling shows are meant to build up a rider's confidence. The judges try to encourage and not discourage. I feel that my scores were probably inflated by 5% and maybe even 10%. If this had been a USDF show, the scores would likely have been closer to 59% and 57%. It sucks to be a realist. I would so much rather be idealistic or optimistic. Being so cynical is a real downer.
Here's a swift kick in the arse ...
For a bit of a comparison, I decided to look up how I did at this same show last year: Intro C (63.5%) and Training Level 1 (60%). Well that's interesting. We did MUCH better this year and at more advanced tests. I then decided to deflate my test scores by taking one point off for each movement and 2 points off if there was a coefficient, of which there were quite a few. (I didn't deduct anything from the collective marks as those are very similar to the marks we normally receive.) With the new "un-inflated" scores, we would have earned 61.96% at T2 and a 61% at T3! Hey - that's pretty good and still way, way better than last year's scores! Maybe we were more lovely than lousy after all!
It occurs to me that dressage comes with a built in You Will Always Suck element. Just when you start to think, I can do this and we're doing it pretty well, you move up a level so that you are guaranteed to once again feel like a big fat loser. I think that's what has happened to me.
It's tough for a perfectionist to work on a sliding scale. You can never get there as the bar keeps moving. This is obviously something that I am going to need to think about. How do I find satisfaction in my efforts when they might always fall short? Any suggestions would be much appreciated.
I showed up with enough time to watch some of the Intro riders go. Amazingly, I actually knew they were Intro riders. Just last year I wouldn't have been able to tell. I actually giggled at the floppy reins, over-use of the inside rein, lack of energy, etc. I don't mean a "snarky" giggle, but an oh-my-God-that-is-EXACTLY-what-we-looked-six-months-ago giggle! It made me realize that maybe we really ARE improving. Maybe the very nice comments made by the show organizers and volunteers weren't just smoke being blown up my butt!
The two elements that I know beyond a doubt have improved are our canter work and my control of the outside rein. There were zero bucks for each canter departure. They were prompt and "up" in the front. In fact he popped up at movement 13 which wasn't a good thing, but that means that his head was up and not tucked down between his legs which makes it easier to buck! So kudos to me for "fixing" that.
Last year we struggled with spooking because my reins were too long, and I had very little control of the outside rein. I felt Speedy tense up as we approached C the first time, but I put both legs on and thought, MOVE IT BUDDY! He did, and he remained straight although the judge noted that we needed more bend. I am okay with needing more bend as opposed to spooking and bolting off course. One thing at at a time ...
So, with all that introspective crap, here is the score sheet for Training Level Test 2. The second test is coming tomorrowish.
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%: