From Endurance to Dressage
On Friday morning, I had a really interesting lesson with Chemaine Hurtado, owner and trainer at Symphony Dressage Stables. With a two-day USDF show coming soon, I needed a lesson that would address my sudden onset of confidence eroding inferiority.
When I go to "big" shows, I suffer from feelings of not belonging. I feel like Speedy and I are just completely outclassed. True or not, relevant or not, it feels like everyone has more money which so often means better tack, better clothes, better training, better everything. So each season, I am forced to put on my big girl panties and suck-it-the-heck-up. Life is not fair. Do what you can with what you have. The end.
When Chemaine rolled up, I told her how I was feeling even though we've been busting our butts to improve our Third Level work all winter. I asked if we could just do a lesson that focused on test preparation. What could I improve on in just a few days, and where could I stop "leaking" points? Since Speedy was already warmed up, Chemaine told me to ride 3-1, and we would take it from there.
Overall, Chemaine was pretty pleased, but she had lots of great tips for me.
For the canter work, Chemaine also had some suggestions for ways to either raise our score a bit, or keep us from losing points.
We worked on each component of the test, with me trying to implement Chemaine's tips. She was right about each one. Every movement was improved just by turning my shoulders or looking where I wanted Speedy's shoulders to be. I've ridden several times since that lesson, always working on keeping my shoulders turned or looking at a particular letter to keep Speedy in a better position.
We last showed in October, so it's been a while for both of us. We were supposed to go to a show this weekend, but it got cancelled on Monday. The property owner was afraid the county would levy fines for a COVID-19 violation. Things are pretty confusing here as professional sports have been allowed - with no spectators, but some some Ventura County officials are calling horse shows a "festival."
I sent in an entry for a show next weekend, also in Ventura County, but that property owner is confident that her facility meets all of the county's requirements. We're about as ready as we can be for our first show, whenever it happens.
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%: