From Endurance to Dressage
Putting the Pedal to the "Medal"
Speedy G is da man! The dude is getting a ton of peppermints today, not like he doesn't get them already. He can be a real pain in the patootie, but right now, all I see is my knight in shining (bronze) armor.
For two solid years I worked on improving my Training Level scores. We started out with a few scores in the high 50s, but then those scores got replaced with 62s and 64s. Before long we earned our USDF Rider Performance Award at Training Level, and by the end of last year, we finally earned scores in the 70s.
At the show we did a few weeks ago, I knew I had earned high enough First Level scores to mark those off from what is needed for the USDF Bronze Medal, but they finally got posted to Centerline Scores. I still have to earn scores from Second and Third Level to actually earn the Bronze Medal, no easy task, but at least we're on the board.
When I was still endurance riding, I was hugely motivated by the awards programs that AERC offered. The most important awards, in my eyes anyway, were the chevrons and medals awarded for attaining certain mileage levels. It wasn't until I finally earned my 1,000 Miles chevron that I finally felt as though I "belonged." There was no pressure from other riders to reach that mileage marker, but it was important to me. Those chevrons are still framed and hanging on my wall today.
AERC also offers Medals. Those are awarded to horses who reach 1,000 mile increments. Montoya DSA earned two medals, and wasn't too far from her third before I lost her to colic in 2010. I have those medals on my wall as well.
So now I am working towards new medals and patches with USDF. I have a lovely Rider Performance Award patch already, but I am looking forward to earning my second one, this time at First Level. I know how hard this stuff is to get however, so I am not counting any chickens just yet.
Earning those First Level scores and filling in a small part of that Bronze Medal is a lot like earning that 1,000 Miles chevron. It helps me feel like I actually "belong" in the dressage court. Filling in one little chunk doesn't mean anything in the whole scheme of life though, and it's not like the chef d'équipe of the US Dressage Team is knocking at my door. But for an Adult Ammie plugging away on her own, it's a nice pat on the back.
totally agree with you with the power of a pat on the back. No it doesn't mean anything to the horses and I guess I'm the big scheme of things it doesn't matter but sometimes that pie in the sky is what keepse moving forward through the unfun stuff :). Congrats on all the little steps so far that are setting you up for something wonderful in the future :)
8/6/2015 04:10:59 am
I NEED the little atta girls. They keep me motivated and let me know that I am on the right track. AERC does a great job of encouraging its riders; To Finish is to Win is only one example. :0)
8/6/2015 04:18:24 am
I absolutely thrive with small, but attainable goals. Especially for those of us who will never win an Olympic medal, it's so important to have something to work towards. I would say that your members would appreciate the opportunity to earn something, no matter what it is. A pin, a certificate, a patch ... anything that says, "I'm out here doing it."
8/6/2015 04:22:54 am
Me too! I need something to work towards; it helps me gauge my progress. As an elite self-critic, I need something to balance out the negativity soundtrack that runs through my head.
Woohoo! I love that centerline shades in the medals slowly as you earn them. It definitely feels good to get another little bit shaded in. I really like the rider awards being offered. Especially the patches (which didn't exist until recently I think) because the Bronze is usually at the very least a 2-3 year adventure for most people. Congrats on your First level scores!
8/6/2015 04:25:14 am
Jay (the creator of Centerline Scores) and I have "chatted" through email several times about his site. It is an AWESOME resource for riders. He didn't have to build that small little picture into his site, but I am sure glad he did. What a great way to inspire riders to try that next level. :0)
8/6/2015 04:26:03 am
Thanks, Sarah! We may be slow, but we're getting it done. :0)
8/6/2015 04:28:52 am
I NEED this kind of stuff. Like I said up above, stuff like this helps balance out my negativity soundtrack. I don't believe "every kid" should get a trophy just for showing up, but recognizing hard work and a basic mastery of skills keeps a lot of us coming back.
8/6/2015 05:32:43 am
This medal program is really keeping me excited about dressage. It's a multi-year goal that I can work towards with my horse and have objective proof of. Congrats on your first scores!! I am so excited for you. :-)
8/6/2015 05:41:49 am
What I like more than the actual medal is that you can earn the Rider Performance Awards as you go! That means you don't have to wait 5 to 10 years (as in my case!) for validation. So when a rider (like me) starts out, I can feel good about the Training Level scores when the first patch comes. As I work on my First Level Scores, I know THAT patch is waiting (2 scores to go!). And then there's the patch for Second Level. So even if it takes FOREVER (if never) to get a Bronze, at least I've had something along the way to celebrate the small successes.
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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%: