From Endurance to Dressage
I usually find that things come in fives, but this time, I've only got two. One I am sure you've heard about (the trailering thing) while the other is not so newsworthy unless you live in California - changes to the CDS Championships.
You've no doubt heard the buzz created by the the law's newest phase: Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) for Commercial Motor Vehicles (CMVs). Essentially, if you haul horses as part of your business, like trainers do, you are subject to the new law. If you are a sponsored rider, you are subject to the law. Basically, anyone who receives money for riding, and then hauls horses, needs a CMV. The law now mandates that owners of CMVs must install ELDs to record the number of hours driven in a 14-hour period.
For most of us, this law doesn't pertain to us. As recreational riders, we can haul as many hours as we'd like. For drivers of what are considered CMVs, this phase of the law is going to create some real hiccups. Think about this: what if your trainer is hauling several horses to another state for a big, year end show? It's a 12-hour drive, but she really doesn't have a place to pull over for the night. She's maxed out her 11-hour drive time for a 14-hour period. What does she do?
As a professional who hauls clients' horses, she is required to have an ELD in her "commercial" vehicle. I know that this issue doesn't affect me directly, but I can imagine that there are a lot of trainers and assistants who are scrambling right now to figure out how to be in compliance.
I've only competed in one California Dressage Society Championship. I had a fabulous time, learned a lot, and came home with a lot less money in my checking account. But when I entered such a prestigious show, I knew that would be the case. Championships, wherever they're held, are supposed to be a big deal.
Over the past month, Facebook has been filled with mutterings about some recent changes to the format of the CDS Championship. Not that Facebook should be your source for news, but the CDS website hadn't done an update, so I was left with social media. I saw a petition go by and several posts filled with a lot of "that's unfair" and "what do I pay dues for?" kinds of comments. Frankly, I wasn't sure what the fuss was about.
This weekend, the newest edition of Dressage Letters finally made it to my mailbox. I opened the cover to read the "President's Column." His first paragraph expressed deep concern for the horses and riders affected by the recent fires, but the rest of the page was dedicated to explaining the rationale for the changes to the Championship show.
From the article, also available online, it seems quite clear why the changes were made. The first two changes (no longer hosting the USDF Breeders Championship and combining the 4, 5, and 6-year-old futurity Amateur and Open Divisions with special awards given to highest scoring Amateurs) were done due to lack of participation. That doesn't seem so controversial to me.
Skipping number three for a moment - the fourth change was about increasing prize money for Horse of the Year (HOY) classes from $1,000 to $1,500. Who's complaining about that?
The fifth change bumped up the qualifying score for Freestyles from 62% to 64%. It sounds as though 62% was too easy to get, and CDS wants only the best competing. I get that.
I don't think those are the changes that have so many people upset. I suspect it is changes numbers three and six. Those are the changes that seem to affect the largest number of riders, particularly amateurs.
Since 1967, HOY has been determined by averaging the results from two different rides of the same test over two days. The year I competed, each day's test was scored by two different judges. That meant that the winner was determined by averaging four sets of scores. Beginning in 2018, each rider will only ride one test, but it will be scored by three different judges. Placings will be determined by averaging the three scores.
CDS has determined that this will actually be cheaper for riders, one less test to pay for, and it will free up riders to compete in other classes for which they are qualified (USDF, equitation, other levels, etc.).
The complaint I am hearing is that determining HOY based on one test alone isn't fair. Naysayers state that if your horse has a bad day, you've lost your chance to earn HOY. That might be true, but then it's also true that you might save your placing if your second test turned out to be a bomb. In addition, riders had to qualify to even get to HOY, so it's not really based on one test at all. It's been a season long journey culminating in one final championship class.
In my mind, the change is not unfair. Every rider has the same opportunity to put in their best test.
The second change that seems to be irritating people is change six which requires a $25 nominating fee for each horse/rider/level for all divisions. I am not sure why this idea is causing so much turmoil. CDS has the exact same requirement for the Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC). The money is used for prizes, swag bags, a hospitality tent with food, and so on. Riders only pay IF they're actually entering the Championship show.
When we make it back to the Championship Show, the extra $25 won't be a big deal to me. It seems the least of the costs associated with going to a big show. I worry more about gas money!
So there you have it, two recent controversies. Are you being affect by the ELDs? Please share. What are your thoughts on the Championship changes? Am I missing something?
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%: