From Endurance to Dressage
I took Izzy to a schooling show on Sunday, his second. Spoiler alert: we didn't win, and his scores were really low: Intro A earned 54.4% and Intro B earned a sad little 49.7%. As low as they are, the scores don't show how much he has learned or how hard he tried. I am not at all disappointed, quite the opposite in fact. He was such a good boy, and I am so excited for our next show in two weeks!
Right from the start, I asked him to do a lot of new and different things. First off, he had to load at 4:45 a.m. in the dark. Fortunately, my friend Laurel came with me so she was able to give him a thwack on the butt when he said no to loading. That was all it took though - one smart whack and he stepped right on.
Izzy rarely gets to work with anyone else in the ring, so this warm up provided another first for him. At our first schooling show, I was the last rider before lunch so we warmed up on our own. This time, we showed in the middle of the morning so the ring was hopping with other horses. While he wasn't what anyone would call business-like, he listened and tried.
Hansen Dam Equestrian Center is a lovely place to show, but the ring can be pretty intimidating. You can sort of see it in the picture above. The court is laid out in the center of a large arena that has a near solid fence around it, so when the horses walk in, they're fairly isolated from everyone else. It took a small amount of persuading to get him in, but once inside, Izzy tried really hard to focus on me.
Laurel agreed that even though the tests earned only lowly scores, both were much better than the first time he showed back in April. Even though we had a different judge, I think the slight increase in scores was still merited. We earned almost a full point better for each movement on Test A, and in Test B, we improved in almost every movement except for the walk. The judge made comments like Good bend, too choppy; good moments in the circle, too choppy; and needs to focus and stretch over the top line. Yes, yes, and yes.
The judge was very correct in her scores, the 4.0 (and later a 3.0) for the free walk was well "earned." He pretty much jigged his way across the diagonal, but I wasn't worried about it one bit. He was trying. He didn't spook or bolt, and he went where I pointed him.
In all honesty, he didn't do anything "wrong." He stood tied to the trailer by himself for a fair bit as Laurel and I walked up to the show office and later took a tour of the grounds. While he danced around a little bit, he was mostly just very "looky." He nibbled at his hay though and lipped at his water. He even relaxed long enough to take a pee in the warm up ring.
If my goal for the first show was to simply stay in the ring and not get disqualified, my goals this time were to have a good warm up and actually do some work during the tests. While there were still a few 4s, I love the 7.0 he earned for tracking left at C (right in front of the judge no less!) and the 7.0 for his 20-meter trot circle, both in Test B. Those movements earned a 5.0 in April.
The judge's Further Remarks are dead on: When you get the brain working with you, will be much better performance. Isn't that what I was just saying? I don't have a tense horse, I have an easily distracted horse!
When Chemaine shared these photos on Facebook, she added this comment: When schooling the babies, all you look for is a few nice moments... here's one! Great riding today, Karen Sweaney! I love how Chemaine thinks. Stringing good moments together is what it's really all about. I love this last photo as it shows how much potential this boy really has.
To my delight, we had more than one or two good moments. As we continue to work, there will be fewer and fewer derp moments. We have another lesson and a schooling show in two weeks, and I can't wait to see what we will be able to do by then!
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%: