From Endurance to Dressage
The show season is well underway, and Speedy and I have taken advantage of his good health and my perseverance. We aren't bringing home knock their socks off kinds of scores, but we are showing steady improvement, especially at Second Level Test 3 which is the test used for the CDS Regional Adult Amateur Competition and the California Dressage Society Championships.
I just have to throw this out to the universe: whoever orchestrated the whole get Speedy into Karen's barn, thank you. I mean it. This horse just makes showing completely stress free. The second Speedy steps off that trailer, he is all about relaxation and napping. I don't have to worry about his behavior one little bit. He'll happily stand at the trailer all day long, and when I tack up, there is never even a hint of maybe I'll freak out about something. Speedy, buddy, you are one awesome dude!
Since Speedy is an absolute saint, showing is about what we can do without also having to deal with any tension. My goal for this season has been pretty simple; eliminate all scores under 6.0. Getting rid of the 4s and 5s is how you score in the mid-60% range. For our Second Level Test 1, our lowest score was a single 5.5. I am calling that a huge win.
The score sheet for 2-1 shows a long, long, line of 6.0s - thirteen of them actually. There are eleven 6.5s and a single 7.0. But of course, there was also a wee bit of pilot error which knocked 2 points off my overall score. After the 10-meter canter circle at A, you have to continue on to F and then cross the short diagonal to E. That section is really hard to remember; I've missed that movement twice this season. Let's hope I've learned my lesson.
The judge is an "S" judge and not one to just give away scores, so to see mostly 6.0s and 6.5s tells me that we are definitely on the right track. His further remarks were spot on, "Some nice moments. Work for even better longitudinal and lateral suppleness for better use and control of hind legs to maintain throughness and uphill balance." Yup. That's exactly where we are.
The one comment that is thankfully missing from the score sheet is "curling." Not that Speedy still doesn't try and duck behind the bit, because he does, but we seemed to have mostly fixed that issue. Most of the comments for this test were about being tight in the back, hollow, and losing rhythm. Some riders might find that discouraging, but I think it's progress.
For us, Second Level has been about getting Speedy to shift his weight to his hind end, which is hard. When he becomes unbalanced, he gets hollow or loses the rhythm. My job is to be more consistent with the half halts, work on maintaining the flexion, and keep his shoulders out of the way.
Here's the test. We finished with a 61.667%. There's a lot more that we need to fix (hello, sitting trot), but we are definitely making progress.
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%: