From Endurance to Dressage
I had no idea that my Soap Box Rant would generate as much interest as it did. I appreciated all of the viewpoints that were shared, whether you agreed with me or not. Emma over at 'Fraidy Cat Eventing even ran with the controversy over on her blog.
I am all about testing myself, which is why I show at USDF shows. I can't do things half-assed - it's all or nothing. I've used schooling shows as a way to introduce my horses to the sport or to a new level. I also did them to gain experience and learn the ropes myself. But in my opinion, schooling shows don't really provide the same level of feedback as a USDF-rated show. And feedback is what I am looking for.
I've shared this about a bazillion times already: I need reward programs that give me something to work towards. USDF participation does that for me. By being a member of the USDF and showing at USDF-rated shows, I can earn recognition for my progress. All I have to do is show up and perform to the USDF's satisfaction.
Many years ago, California's annual state testing of students was graded on a "curve." Twenty-five percent of the students were at the top, fifty percent were in the middle, and twenty-five percent were at the bottom. As a new teacher just entering the profession, I questioned the legitimacy of this. What if everyone scored 90% or above? How was it fair that those who scored in the low 90s were low performers?
Thankfully, California ditched that system of evaluating its students. Now, kids get a score based on the number of correct answers that indicates their proficiency level from Advanced to Far Below Basic.
I like that the USDF rewards its riders with the same kind of scoring. Everyone can earn a passing "grade" and be considered a high performer, but the opposite is also true. Every rider in the class can also earn a 50%. This is why I have become a score stalker.
Some people play Words with Friends; I play Centerline Scores, and when I am really bored, USDFScores.com. Centerline Scores is by far my favorite because I don't have to be logged in, and I can find what I am looking for so much faster.
I do check USDFScores.com, but only when I am looking for something brand new, like right now. I am just about to die of impatience. My newest scores from the Mission Pacific show have not yet been posted to USDFScores.com which means that Centerline Scores doesn't have them either.
The reason I am doing 40 checks a day is that I can't apply for my USDF First Level Rider Performance Award until the scores have been officially recorded with USDF. Hence the score stalking.
The truth is, I stalk scores for a lot of reasons. I check my own, of course, but I check everyone's. If you've ever ridden a dressage test at a USDF-rated show, I've probably checked your scores.
It's not that I am particularly nosy (okay, a little); it's more because it helps me chart my own progress. Is everyone moving up levels faster than I am? Are my scores in the correct range? Am I showing enough to get where I want to be?
I know it shouldn't matter what everyone else is doing, but I live in a Dressage Desert. I don't have other riders that I can talk to and compare notes with. I ride by myself All. The. Time.
By stalking scores, I can see what's happening in the dressage world. I can see that my 62% at First Level Test 3 is holding its own. My 66% at Test 2 is looking pretty good. But I can also see that riders with whom I've been riding are moving on without me. That gives me a kick in the pants.
I get that they might have better horses and more frequent training, but that doesn't stop me from wanting to try harder. I don't begrudge those riders a single bit of their success, and in fact, I am thrilled for them. That doesn't stop me from wanting to be right there with them though.
Score stalker. Yep, that's me. Check mine out; I won't be offended. But if you do check, don't look too closely at those pale yellow scores, and thankfully, there aren't any orange or red ones.
Are you a score stalker too?
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%: