From Endurance to Dressage
I am on my way to RAAC. I'll admit it; I am really excited about this opportunity. Yeah, yeah, big deal. I know. It's not like riding for a USDF championship, but I did have to qualify, and I worked really hard to be able to go.
I've been talking about RAAC for some time. Most of you probably have no idea what the RAAC actually is. Here's a blurb from the California Dressage Society (CDS):
I qualified at both Introductory Level (Basic) and at Training Level. Believe it or not, it was more difficult, for me anyway, to qualify at Intro because you have to have two scores of 65% or higher from two different judges. That's not so easy. For the rest of the levels, you only need two scores of at least 60% from two different judges. That was easy. I had more than seven scores over 60% to choose from.
RAAC is a two-day affair. The first day of the show is just a regular CDS/USDF/USEF show. Anyone can enter. Day two is also just a regular show, but RAAC participants are riding for a second level of recognition. I know there are RAAC ribbons and prizes of some type, but in all honesty, I have no idea what to expect. I know there is some kind of an award ceremony and a photo session for high placing riders, but I really doubt that I'll need to participate.
It's not like I am selling myself short; I am just realistic. I qualified at Training Level, but I only just started riding these tests less than a year ago. I've only done test 3 twice, and both rides were done this month. Many of the other riders will no doubt be much more practiced at this level. That's okay. My goals, as always, are to have fun, get a somewhat acceptable canter departure, and not finish dead last.
Geez. My goals continue to be rather low. Is have fun what the never-good-enough crowd always hopes for? I seriously hope that one day I can write, be in the top three as one of my goals. And I am serious about not wanting to be dead last. (Insert ominous music here.) I know someone has to be there, and it will most likely be me, but I really hope not.
Here are my ride times and class sizes for day one; these are not RAAC classes.
Oh yay. I get to go first. Did you notice who the judge is? Hilda Gurney!!!! I rode for her in Santa Barbara; she gave me good scores then. I hear that she likes Arabians. The bad thing about riding for Hilda is that her scores won't help me earn my USDF Training Level Award as I already have one score from her. I need a total of four scores from four different judges. Bummer.
This is by far the largest class in which I will have ever ridden. One of the other riders from the class is also from Bakersfield. I wish her well. I don't know any of the others. There are thirteen riders; that doesn't bode well. Isn't 13 an unlucky number? I just hope and pray NOT to be the thirteenth placed rider.
The second class is a bit smaller, but I still don't know any of these riders. This class is judged by Gail Hoffman. I rode for her in June, and I didn't get great scores from her. I hope her scores were low because we stunk as opposed to her having something against Arabians. Again, I just don't want to be last.
Here are the RAAC classes. They're held on Sunday, but I don't think every rider entered in the classes are participating in RAAC. I guess I'll find out on Sunday.
My first class is at 8:00 a.m. Guess what? I think I am going to win. How embarrassing. I am not sure why no one else in the entire middle section of California entered at Introductory Level. Was it not worth the time and money to get to the show? Was it too hard for Intro riders to earn two scores of 65%? Were other riders embarrassed to go to RAAC only to show at Introductory? Again, I just don't know. I hope that CDS doesn't drop the Intro classes from RAAC. I saw it as a great opportunity to get my feet wet. I never imagined that I would also qualify at Training Level.
And then there's the BIG one, Training Level 3. It's the real reason I am going to RAAC. I am not putting pressure on myself. I know we won't win, and I can say fairly confidently that we probaly won't be in the top three. I only hope we're not in the bottom three.
This class is also judged by Gail Hoffman, not my biggest fan. My plan is to try and do everything that I practiced with JL this week: keep Speedy soft, encourage him to listen to my leg, keep my seat light, and ask for the canter with a light leg aid. If we get through the canter departures without the theatrics, the only thing bugger that will lower our score will be the stretchy trot. If that's the only part we blow, I'll be more than happy.
I am fairly certain I won't have an internet connection at the show grounds which means you won't hear from me until Monday. I promise to let you know how this whole thing goes. Wish us luck!
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
*** SCEC 10/15-16/22
2022 Completed …
(*) Tehachapi 5/22/22
(*) Tehachapi 7/24/22
(***) Tehachapi 8/28/22
2023 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
Qualifying Training Level
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%:
Score 1: 62.115%