From Endurance to Dressage
I had so much fun this weekend, and I learned so much that I just want to skip the riding recap and go straight to the here's what I walked away with. We Missed It By a Hair, Made it By a Hair, and Missed the Mark Completely, but since none of that would make much sense without seeing how we did, I had better stick to a more linear story line.
Before I do that, I need to give a huge shoutout to Team Symphony, led by the always awesome Chemaine Hurtado. She runs the most motivating training barn that I have yet seen. I am not sure if it's a deliberate strategy or if it just happens because of Chemaine's attitude toward life, but with her, dressage is fun first followed by sound practices and hard work.
If Chemaine provides Team Symphony's structure, it is her daughter, Morgan, who is the glue that helps hold the team together. This up and coming Jr/YR is not only a talented rider herself, but she epitomizes the ideals of good sportsmanship. She's a motivator, a butt kicker, boot polisher, horse handler, videographer, Jill of all tasks, and all around good friend.
With Team Symphony, it doesn't matter who is in the saddle; everyone pitches in to polish boots, remove leg wraps, take photos, check scores, and cheer loudly no matter what the score. I feel so blessed to have been included in this wonderful family. Thanks, Team Symphony!
Missed It By a Hair
My least favorite score of all is the 59%. It's not like a 55% is all that pretty either, but 59% means you probably missed a "satisfactory" by just a point or two. In my case, it was one and a half points that kept me from earning my last score towards my USDF First Level Rider Performance Award. Womp womp.
Speedy was a fireball during the first warm up, which was completely the other end of the spectrum from where he was at last month's show. Remember that? He ended up needing to pee. Well that wasn't a problem this weekend. He was jazzed up for this go round.
Speedy and I have participated in the CDS Regional Adult Amateur Competition for the past four years, but this year's show was far bigger than the previous three. There were four rings going, all brightly decorated. Between rings one and two there is a raised platform covered with a circus-like tent and flags snapping in the breeze. There were tables set up for the evening performance and for spectators later on. There wasn't any one thing that spooked Speedy, but the general atmosphere was exciting with lots of color and movement.
There is no question that Speedy was against my hand through parts of this first ride. He was also pretty stuck on the left rein, as usual. My position was certainly not as good as it can be, but when he and I brace against each other, that's what happens. Most of the tension came from the C end of the ring where the judge was seated. He didn't want anything to do with that red, white, and blue bunting. There's video down below.
Overall, the ride felt rushed, and Speedy was heavy in my hand. I also made a stupid error, aren't they all, near the end of the test. I have the test memorized, but I was listening so intently to Chemaine's instructions that I mistakenly heard C 10-meter circle instead of B Half circle 10-meters. Even as I was making the 10-meter circle at C, I was wondering why Chemaine would ask me to do that. She hadn't of course.
I knew before the judge blew her whistle that it was an error and just finished the circle and headed to B to make the 10-meter half circle to finish at G. I now know this test so well that I can do it without a reader. There will be no more off course errors for that test. The 2 point deduction for going off course cost me the 60% score. I missed 60% by 1.5 points.
This was certainly not our best test, but it was a heck of a lot of fun, we both gained some more experience in a "bigger" ring, and I have plenty of time in which to earn that last score for the Rider Performance Award. I am not being negative here, but we'll be working on First Level for a while.
Here's the video.
Here is the score sheet for the First Level, Test 3 AA (RAAC Warm Up Class) ... click to enlarge.
I don't generally criticize the judging, but they did seem a little tougher at this show. Overall, we finished the test with a 59.559% which was sixth out of a class of nine. We've definitely done better, but I am not that disappointed. I can see where we need to improve (more length in the trot lengthening, more length in the canter lengthening, and catch those drifting hunches in the leg yield), but the good thing is that Chemaine gave me some great exercises and advice to help me.
Tomorrow, Made It By a Hair!
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
*** SCEC 10/15-16/22
2022 Completed …
(*) Tehachapi 5/22/22
(*) Tehachapi 7/24/22
(***) Tehachapi 8/28/22
2023 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
Qualifying Training Level
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%:
Score 1: 62.115%