From Endurance to Dressage
Sean Cunningham, owner and trainer at STC Dressage sent out an email mid-week last week canceling all lessons at his barn due to rain. Knowing that we don't get nearly as much rain as he does, he told me to keep him posted about my own footing. It was supposed to rain off and on all last Friday night which meant I wouldn't really know about the footing unless I drove out there at the crack of dawn on Saturday morning. I texted him to cancel. I didn't care whether the footing was good or not. I didn't want a lesson.
That's just so unlike me. I am all in all the time. Lately though, as I've already described, lessons have begun to feel like a chore. They're not fun, and I am not feeling energized and motivated by them. I should add that it's not Sean's fault. It's not like he has turned into a jerk over the past month; it's me. I've been putting so much pressure on both Izzy and myself to IMPROVE ALL THE TIME that I am exhausted and not feeling very kindly toward the sport.
Being middle-aged has its advantages. One of which is a certain amount of wisdom as a result of experience and age. I no longer let myself get so far off into the deep end before I start looking for a life preserver. Instead, I start to evaluate which way the tide is going, and I start paddling for shore. While I might have felt a twinge of guilt about canceling the lesson, I knew I had my best interests at heart. I did ride on Saturday, later in the day, but I took Sunday off. Of course it rained off and on all day, so I didn't feel guilty, but it was a nice break from the monotony of having to ride and "succeed."
This week my rides have been a lot less goal oriented. I am riding the horse I have rather than the one I think I should have. We've schooled the flying changes and gotten them. We've schooled the flying changes and not gotten them. I didn't care. I just went on to something else and focused on creating a better connection with my horse. I (mostly) blocked out my inner critic and tried to stay in the moment. It definitely helped. I am supposed to have a lesson in the morning, but I cancelled it and the next three. I talked to Sean last night about cancelling my weekly lessons until the new year. He understood and even said that sometimes a break can be the way to move forward,
I already feel better.
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%: