From Endurance to Dressage
Besides riding in a clinic over the weekend, I also had a show on Sunday. No need for any suspense; here's our score, but it doesn't tell the real story!
My goal for our third show of the year (fourth show in all) was much the same as last month's goal: get some amount of relaxation.
Here's how his first three shows went:
I hung his hay bag outside the trailer, filled his water bucket, and zipped up to the show office to check in and retrieve our number. When I got back to the trailer, he whinnied at me but he wasn't overly nervous. I decided to saddle him right away and was pleased with how mellow he was being. When I went to change into my riding clothes, he called for me a few times but relaxed when I came out to show him that I hadn't gone far.
Given our experience the month before, I wanted to have plenty of time in the warm up in case Sydney went Looney Tunes again. I got on at least 35 minutes before my first ride time. He was tense, but nothing like last month. I tried to just walk, but he had too much nervous energy brewing so I asked him to trot. We stayed in a pretty basic circle for quite a while. When I thought he might be relaxing, I changed direction.
Last month, I never was able to do a single trot circle during the warm up. This time, we were able to trot and canter without a massive blow up. There were a few whirls and bucks, but he came right back to me. In my mind, the show was already a success.
Everything about the Introductory Level C Test was better than the month before. My score was slightly lower for this test, but that was simply because of the canter. He was definitely forward without sucking back. Unfortunately, he was also a freight train plowing through my aides. No matter, at least he was going forward.
What was so interesting about this test was that it felt absolutely horrible. I was using a TON of leg to keep him next to the rail, but even so he was fish-tailing here and there. When we finished the test, several people came up and complimented me on keeping so calm. And even though the test felt terrible, the judge obviously saw something else. I have suspected all along that Sydney is far more capable of higher scores than Speedy ever will be. Don't get me wrong, I love my little gray pony, but he doesn't have the natural ability that Sydney has.
For this test, we started with three 5s, followed by four 6s. I have worked really hard to score 6s with Speedy and here I was fighting with Sydney and still getting those scores. At the left lead canter, our better direction, Sydney blew through the right shoulder, his oldest trick, and quasi-bolted back toward C. I brought him to a quiet halt, patted his neck, and returned to the test. Since I was supposed to still be cantering and transitioning to a trot, my next movement scored low as I wasn't in position to make the transition. But check out what happened after the error:
My anxious horse, who had just bolted up centerline, came down to a medium walk for a score of 6, and then effortlessly moved to a free walk for a lovely 8. And then, for the cherry on this sundae, he picked up a working trot in front of the judge for a second 8. That's why I am so pleased with this ride. Even though he panicked and felt the need to run, he quickly recovered and hit one over the fence. Give us a few more shows, and I think we're going to be wowing some judges!
Here's the whole score sheet.
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%: