From Endurance to Dressage
I had quite a long wait before my training Level Test 2 which wasn't until 3:02 in the afternoon. No problem. The ladies from Bakersfield had set up a lovely "hospitality center," or as Barb called it, CAMP. We had quite a showing from Bakersfield: Donna on Zena, Donna on Barb's mare, Cola, Mia on Nicolas, Bettina on Regitze, and Andrea on Sarinna. Joining the group were Bettina's friends, Chris and Lori (who shot zillions of photos!) and Leslie Webb, a well-known trainer, who was there to coach several of her students.
It seemed that someone from the group was always getting ready for a ride or finishing a ride. When not riding, several people could be found lounging in the chairs munching on cupcakes, vegies, or having a Corona (post-ride of course!).
After re-braiding (those French braids don't hold for long) and re-dressing, I re-saddled Speedy and headed over to the warm up. I was feeling very good about the ride and tried to remember to do just what JL instructed: a few halts off the outside rein, sideways movements from the inside leg to outside rein, and canter transitions after sitting softly. Speedy never offered to buck or kick out the entire weekend. Even if my scores weren't great, we certainly did well fixing that problem!
My second test of the day was in the same arena as earlier. The judge's tent was no longer an issue. We scored a 6.5 for our trot up the centerline. The canter departs were prompt without any fussing. I was even happy with our stretchy trot; it wasn't perfect, but there was some stretch. The judge commented, stretching out but unclear about stretching down. That's okay. It was an improvement!
I loved every detail of this test. Part way through the test I realized that I was smiling and having a great ride. There were no mistakes. He was as solid as I could help him be. As I exited at A, I told myself that I didn't care what the score was as I knew that was one of the best rides we'd ever done.
And then I went to get my score sheet. I burst into tears when I saw my score: 59.107%. It was ridiculous, I know, but after having just ridden a ride that I considered to be my personal best, I was shocked to see a score below 60%.
I didn't let anyone see me cry of course, but I found it necessary to hang out at my own trailer for quite some time before I could pull myself together. I even had to put in a call to Cha Ching's mom who made all of the right noises.
I am only sharing this with you out of my commitment to transparency. I am always honest in this space, and feel an obligation to be forthcoming.
I don't know who most of you are, but I do know that some of you at least are just like me: riders new to the sport with little or no previous showing experience. I am here to say that showing can be very humbling and very hard on your ego. Even if your ego is as tiny as mine, scores lower than what you expect are a very bitter pill to gag down. Phhht!
Here are the final class scores. We placed 7th out of a class of 8.
Here is the score sheet. Click images to enlarge.
As I look over the score sheets today, I see that yes, they're aren't winning scores, but they aren't scores to cry over either. There were no 4s - woot, woot!, there were far more 6s and 6.5s than 5s, and there was even a 7 for a canter to trot transition. It's a decent test, and I am no longer disappointed in the score.
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 Second Level. 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%
2021 Show Season
(r) Ride-a-Test Clinic
(Q) Must Qualify
2022 Pending …
2021 Completed …
10/24-25 SCEC (***)
11/7-11/8 SB (***)
4/10-11 SCEC (***)
5/16-17 El Sueño (***)
6/26-27 SCEC (***)
7/17-18 El Sueño (***)
8/7-8 SCEC (***)
10/30-31 SCEC (***)
2021 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
2nd Level Qualifying
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%:
Score 1: 60.610% Bhathal
2nd Level Qualifying
5 Scores/4 Judges/61%:
Stuff I Read