From Endurance to Dressage
RAAC Part 1
I am writing this at 5:00 a.m., so forgive the lack of quality and the typos!
A few weeks ago, it looked as though some of my Ventura friends were going to be attending the Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC), including Chemaine Hurtado, my occasional dressage trainer. Unfortunately, it didn't work out for them to come. I was a bit disappointed as I was really looking forward to a lesson on Friday night.
A different dressage friend, VG, did make it to RAAC, and she brought her trainer, Peggy Klump. Peggy was a California Dressage Society president, currently serves on the CDS board, and is a well-respected trainer. I asked VG privately if Peggy would be willing to give me an unscheduled lesson, and when she said she thought so, I asked, and the next thing I knew, I was getting some coaching after all.
Peggy was also schooling her three clients and their horses that evening so I sat around to watch that series of lessons first. I found it amazing that Peggy could coach VG while riding S's horse and also be talking to S about what her horse was doing. This was after schooling R's Arabian, Orion. The woman has more energy than I've ever seen!
VG rides First and Second Level right now, quite successfully, but is moving to Third and Fourth for next season. That little German Riding Pony can bust a move! VG won one of her RAAC classes and scored in the 70s for a second place in her other RAAC class while also earning high score for all Novice RAAC entries. Pretty darned good!
Peggy is a boisterous, loud, high energy instructor. She's quick to point out what's not going right, several times I heard, WHERE are you going? as I lost Speedy's shoulder and drifted wide of B or E, but she's also immediate in her praise and very supportive of her students. I had ridden with her before so I knew that I would enjoy the lesson.
She gave me a lot of information, but the two things that I kept in mind during the show were her tips on improving my geometry (LOOK WHERE YOU"RE GOING!), and the idea of soft hands. This one was huge.
I hold a lot of tension in my wrists, so Peggy pointed it out and showed me what a soft hand can feel like. She actually grabbed my hands and tugged and pulled so that I could feel what was happening in Speedy's mouth. Her analogy was to think of a dental hygienist. Would I want her knocking on my mouth or using even pressure? Speedy responded immediately when I released the tension, which was enough of a motivator for me to begin implementation of soft hands ASAP.
Throughout all four tests, that soundtrack played repeatedly in the background of my mind … soft hands, soft hands, soft hands.
If you're a Facebook friend, you already know how the weekend went for us. If you want to know ahead of time, go ahead and check out my Show Results 2014 link, but I'm going to wait until tomorrow to tell you how Saturday's classes went. In the meantime, here's a photo of the cool goodie bag and treats that all of the RAAC participants received followed by some pictures of the grounds.
8/25/2014 12:18:42 am
LOVE me some Speedy G! And Speedy's Mom too of course!
8/25/2014 10:33:34 pm
I kind of like him, too! Thanks, Judy. :0)
8/25/2014 10:34:20 pm
It's easier to add drama when I crash and burn, harder to write when it's all good. :0)
can't wait to hear how the show went, and glad you were able to get some last-minute coaching in after all. the 'soft hands' mantra is one that i can not hear often enough... i tend to really clench with my hands and wrist, and lock the elbow... it's way too much for my sensitive arab (who is probably not dissimilar from Speedy G)
8/25/2014 10:34:54 pm
Apparently, we're in the same club. :0)
8/25/2014 10:36:22 pm
I think it just relaxed me to ride with Peggy. It gave me a feeling of belonging. If I am good enough to be "trained" by a trainer, I am good enough to be there. I know that's not right, but it helped me to focus and feel more confident. :0)
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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%: