From Endurance to Dressage
I am very tired so this is going to come out in a big jumble. Sorry! I promise a better and more thorough write up of the show beginning tomorrow. For now, here are just some impressions.
First and foremost, I met every single one of the goals I set for the show. I am pretty surprised! I had fun, Speedy enjoyed himself, I earned above 65% at Intro C, and I earned above 60% (twice no less!) at Training One. I am now qualified for the Regional Adult Amateur Competition in September at Introductory C. I need one more score of 60% or higher for Training One and then I'll be qualified for that level as well.
I also accomplished an earlier goal of earning a CDS plate which is awarded to a CDS member the first time he/she earns five (5) or more scores of 60% or better at Introductory C Level or above in a single show season. Recipients will continue to receive plates every year thereafter. The plate is engraved with the horse's name, level of competition and number of scores. A personalized wall plaque is available for purchase for mounting the plates. I earned the certificate last year with three scores above 60%. With a 63.500% earned in October combined with my four scores this weekend, I've already met one of my 2012 goals, and the show season has only just begun!
Judge Mary was also at the show with her gelding, Dugan. Mary is a fantastic photographer and shot several of my rides. I am hoping to get a few pictures from her. I'll post them as soon as I do.
Have I mentioned that I have some confidence issues? Not in my professional or private life, but in the dressage world, yeah, I feel like a big dork. I didn't show or take lessons as a junior. My first real riding lesson came in my very late 30s. While I could post, I didn't know how to change diagonals, and I certainly didn't ride my endurance horses with any contact. I could successfully ride a 100 mile race, but I couldn't ride a 20 meter circle. When I bought my first dressage saddle two years ago, I didn't even know what all of the "parts" to the saddle were called. I had to learn about the different types of English tack in general. Ask me sometime about cruppers or a tailing line.
As I was watching all of the other riders and horses, I started to realize that while I might stick out a little bit as slightly different, Speedy and I do belong there. I saw many riders struggling with the same things I struggle with. Now that I have a bit of education under my belt, I can see past the glitz and glamour of the white pants and black coats. I realized that I probably look decent to an outsider, too! In fact, Speedy earned a million compliments from observers and show volunteers. I can't tell you how many times I heard he's adorable or he's so cute. Those may sound like patronizing things to say, and they wouldn't be said about Ravel or Morelands Totilas, but Speedy looks like a fun horse to ride and people like him for that. He's just got this swinging, perky, happy way about him.
On Saturday morning, Speedy was high as a kite and desperately needed to move out. My first test wasn't until much later in the afternoon, and he just couldn't wait that long. I saddled up in schooling clothes and half chaps and planned to hack him up and down the barn aisles. We pranced our way up and down a few rows before I realized that my boy needed to really trot out. I headed for the warm up ring where the Big Boys and Girls were warming up for their tests. There were only three or four riders and the warm up area was VERY large so I felt that we could safely use a deep corner for some trot circles. I kept my eyes open for the other riders, but almost immediately one of them came hurtling my direction. I pulled Speedy to an abrupt halt and just stood still as she moved past. She glared at me. Sorry. I found out later that she felt my presence was a complete affront to the dressage world, and I had no business being there. Again, sorry.
The next day, my second test was to be a little before Paul Drake's musical freestyle at Grand Prix. He was riding a beautiful (I think?) mare named Alanti. We entered the warm up together. I had heard his name earlier in the day so I decided to head off any trouble with a pre-offending apology.
Paul: yes. Hi.
Me: I know I am warming up with you, and I am just doing a VERY low level test so I will try really hard to stay completely out of your way.
Paul: (laughs) No, please, I'll stay out of your way. You just do your warm up, and I'll try and watch where you're going. It's hard when riders try to predict where I'm going. I'll just watch you.
Me: (stunned silence)
Paul: And I am sorry I distracted you about the video earlier today. I hope it wasn't a problem.
Me: (stunned silence followed by a giggle - did I mention he was quite handsome?) Not at all. In fact, maybe you helped me re-focus since I had one of my best rides ever.
Paul: Have a great ride!
Me: You, too!
We walked an entire lap around the warm up chatting. What a great guy!
<i>You just do your warm up, and I'll try and watch where you're going. It's hard when riders try to predict where I'm going.</i>
4/2/2012 11:23:30 am
Thanks for the feedback, Hannah. I genuinely like to hear from people, of all levels, and value the experiences shared.
No snarkiness assumed. I'm an eventer -- our warm-ups can also be a bit fraught, but the overall atmosphere is a little more party-time than the straight dressage shows that I've done. I don't think it's exactly that politeness isn't valued (although I s'pose it depends on the particular crowd with which one hangs), but every sport has its own feel, for sure! :)
4/2/2012 11:42:47 pm
Very true ... I don't think I've figured out the "feel" of this sport. I worry that I never will!
4/2/2012 11:32:53 am
Thank you, Kelly, you're so sweet! We tried our best and our best was good enough - this time!. I'm still a bit giddy about it. I think I can officially ditch Intro and move firmly into training level. I am definitely planning on going to RAAC at Intro though. No reason to not try and be competitive! :0)
Congratulations!!! What a fabulous show weekend! Mission accomplished, and with a chat with Paul Drake to boot! Love all the pictures too - I love showing at SB except for the ridiculous stalling fees. Oh and the scary round shadows in the inside arena (though I hear they are no longer there). Glad you had a good time!
4/2/2012 11:36:23 am
Do you know Paul Drake? I DO NOT like to be a name dropper and didn't know he was "known!" He was very kind, and cute! I make it a point to never name pain the ass people, but I do like to name nice, generous, friendly, knowledgable, and helpful people, and he definitely was nice. If you decide to show up at Hansen Dam, wether as a rider or observer, please try to find me. It would be fun to meet up!
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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%: