From Endurance to Dressage
Besides going to STC Dressage for a weekend of lessons, I also crammed in as much fun as a girl on her last weekend before school starts can. It all started on Friday afternoon ...
Have you looked at your USDF 2022 Member Guide recently? If you'll remember, my friend Terry Spehar-Fahey's original watercolor was selected for the cover. Her subject was Sean Cunningham, owner and trainer at STC Dressage, aboard her own gelding, Roulette.
Over the past year or so, Terry has been doing a series of paintings that capture the light and space of American ranch life. Her inspiration comes from the beautiful photographs taken by Kirstie Lambert. You can find Lambert on Facebook where she shares her photographs. They are stunning.
Terry and Kirstie have been collaborating in an effort to share the beauty of the lives of the ranches of Idaho and Montana. According to Terry, Kirstie's photos capture the exact space and light that Terry strives to express in her watercolor paintings. Terry was recently interviewed by Western Art Collector magazine where the journalist wanted to know more about the process of collaboration between photographer and artist. The issue will be available in October.
Knowing how much I enjoyed her painting of Sean and Rou, Terry arranged for several of us to view her show at the Kwan Fong Gallery of Art and Culture located on the campus of California Lutheran University. While the gallery is open during business hours for public viewing, we went late in the day, so it turned out to be a private showing. That suited all of us quite well.
Terry is both a professional artist as well as a retired teacher of art so it was an absolute treat to view her work with her there to explain what we were seeing. She was patient and willing to answer my million questions. She discussed every aspect of her work from the medium used, to the time it takes to paint such large watercolors, to the subtleties of her work. She also showed us what she wanted the viewer to focus on and she achieved that. Her explanations brought each painting to life and helped me appreciate them so much more.
When we left the gallery, we headed straight to Terry's house for drinks and a dinner party. Terry loves to entertain, and her guests are never disappointed. Before eating though, we begged Terry for a peak at the rest of her work. Terry has stacks and stacks and stacks of unframed pieces, many of which were from her experience with art therapy. Years ago, those pieces were also in a gallery for a show even though they were intensely personal. We all marveled at her ability to paint images that conveyed her fears and feelings. They were truly astonishing paintings. Besides those more serious pieces, we also uncovered the original painting of Sean and Rou which was much larger than I expected it to be.
After dinner and way too many whiskey sours, Sean hauled me back to STC Dressage where we checked on horses before finally getting to bed around midnight. It had been a very long day.
The next morning, I rode of course, but shortly afterward, my friend Jen, the most amazing show/clinic/event organizer of all time, picked me up for an afternoon of laughter and fun. Our first stop was In-N-Out; we have three in Bakersfield, but none are easy nor convenient for me to get to. She ordered no onions, I asked for extra onions. We're a perfect pairing.
Our next stop was Fortissimo Farm where Laura Goodenkauf is head trainer. Laura had partnered with the Ventura County Chapter of CDS, of which Jen is Chairperson, to hold a clinic with Amelia Newcomb. Jen and I handled parking but afterwards, we did have time to watch some of the rides.
I have ridden with with Amelia twice and have found her to be a very kind clinician and coach. I am sure she's a bit tougher on her regular, every day clients, but as a guest clinician she is very encouraging and looks for the positive in order to support riders without intimidating them.
After the clinic, Jen and I headed back to Moorpark for our regular visit to Woodranch for dinner. We ordered a plate of ribs with sides and a plate of salmon with a side and promptly split everything in half to share. And even though we were both stuffed, we still had room for gelatos at Carrara's. Jen always gets mint chocolate chip, but I like to play the field. By the time she dropped me off at STC Dressage, I was practically sleep walking. Two late nights in a row is way out of my normal. And of course, I rode the next morning.
As planned, I had a jam-packed weekend full of riding, learning, and visiting with great friends. I think my next visit probably won't happen until late October which is disappointing but worth waiting for.
Have a great weekend. After this past one, I need a slow one, thanks.
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%: