From Endurance to Dressage
Now that the RAAC is over, I have one more show for the 2017 season, the final Tehachapi show. It's this weekend. We're doing First Level one more time in hopes of maybe eking out the highest overall average score for the adult amateur division. There's a $100 prize and certificate at stake, so it's worth aiming for. The competition is stiff however, and I think I am only in third place at the moment. Win or lose, I hope it's the last First Level test I ride.
The problem with moving up a level is that Speedy and I have been poised on that brink before only to step back down. When we wanted to move from Intro to Training Level, USEF radially changed the tests so that the Training Level stuff got moved down into Intro. That meant that we stayed at Intro for another year.
When we finally moved to Training Level, we did well enough the first season, but our scores were in the bottom 60s, and I knew we weren't ready for First Level. The second year we did Training Level, we finished with scores in the high 60s and low 70s. We moved to First Level.
Our first season at First Level went okay. We started with scores in the high 50s and low 60s, and ended with some solid mid-60 scores. I was hopeful that we could move on to Second Level in the spring, but over the winter, Speedy kept coming up lame. It was so intermittent that I couldn't keep him in regular work. Then, in the spring, he suffered some tendonitis brought on during turnout, and I gave up any plans of showing him for the rest of the year.
This winter, Speedy's lamenesses resolved themselves. The tendonitis had long ago healed with no issues, and the night time turn out took care of the whirling and pacing that was causing him to be sore on the right front. We started at First Level again.
And now, here we are staring down Second Level. I think we're ready. Our scores are solidly in the mid-60s, and it feels as though we're pretty confirmed at the level. I just don't think there is anything more to be learned by hanging out at First again.
I am pretty sure US Equestrian isn't going to surprise us with new tests, the current ones are good through November of 2018, so it's simply up to Speedy to stay sound and healthy.
As I was looking over the shows that start the 2018 season, which begins in October, I saw two different shows that looked great for first timers. The first is in Fresno. It's a two-day show with Saturday's event being a schooling show (cheap!), and Sunday's classes are USDF-rated. I think this is a clever show set up. If we make it, Speedy and I will have one day to dip our toes into Second Level before we let it all hang out at the rated show on Sunday.
The second option is at Hansen Dam in November. It's also a two-day event, but on Saturday, riders get to do a Ride-a-Test twice, and then on Sunday, there's a schooling show. This option would be cheaper with a lot less stress.
I don't know yet which one I'll do. Heck, I might even do them both!
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%: