From Endurance to Dressage
Speedy and I had another show this past weekend, but I needed a day to recover before I wrote it up. I can't be 100% sure without doing a little bit of digging, but I think this was the first time we did back to back shows. For many of you that's not such a big deal, but dressage shows in my neck of the woods require a fair amount of driving. I am tired. Still.
The Tehachapi shows, all four of them, are put on by my local chapter of the California Dressage Society. They're only CDS-rated, but as most of you know, my GMO has amazing incentive programs, so the scores I earn at the Tehachapi shows can count for a lot.
Spoiler alert: we didn't pull out any fabulous scores, BUT we are stepping up our game. Chemaine Hurtado, owner and trainer at Symphony Dressage Stables, put it like this, "Karen Sweaney, in my opinion, had break through tests! Much more impulsion and therefore much less signature Arabian tendency to curl!" Chemaine was showing several clients' horses, coaching other clients (including myself), and coaching her own kids.
So far this season, my scores have fluctuated pretty wildly including a couple of 2.0s and 3.0s and the ever pesky 5.0s. My goal has been to eliminate all of those sub 5.0 scores, especially the 4.0s and below. Anything under a 5.0 is insufficient or worse. In my case, those scores are simply from pilot error. We know how to do the movements. We wouldn't be showing at Second Level if we didn't.
I've said this about a million times already, but in the show ring, the movements have just come at me so fast that I've had trouble riding them harmoniously (or well). For this show, everything finally slowed down, and I felt like I was able to think ahead of the movements and was able to ride proactively instead of reactively.
For Second Level Test 1, we earned 7.0s for our first centerline, our medium walk, and the walk to canter at M. The rest of the test was filled solidly with 6.0s except for three other movements, two of which had double coefficients. We earned a 5.0 (x2) for our shoulder-in left, a 5.0 (x2) for the rein back, and a 4.0 for one of our 10-meter canter circles (Speedy took a wonky step and stumbled into trot).
The final score was a 59.394% - 196 points. We missed a 60% by 2 points. In all likelihood, if I could have balanced Speedy a bit better in the 10-meter canter circle, he wouldn't have lost his balance, and we would have earned a 6.0 and the 60%.
I am clearly in a learning phase right now though so I am not at all disappointed. Chemaine was really pleased with our improvement over just one week ago. I felt much better about the ride and know that Speedy and I getting a handle on Second Level. The scores are already reflecting our progress.
We have plenty left to work on, trot to walk is one of them, but I can't believe how much progress we've made in the past six months. Who would have thought an endurance rider who had never had a formal lesson in her life could go from not knowing her posting diagonals to showing Second Level? It's taking forever, but that's what what you get when you're riding a Speedy pony!
Second Level Test 3 tomorrow ...
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%: