From Endurance to Dressage
The Educational Element
Like I've already said, I was at the California Dressage Society (CDS) Annual Meeting and Health Fair over this past weekend. Speedy and I toted home a couple of awards and I got to peek behind the curtain so to speak. On Sunday, I attended the Health Fair which was comprised of a series of lectures and a panel discussion.
Knowing that I had a long drive through Los Angeles's notoriously heinous traffic, I only stayed through lunch which meant I missed listening to Dr. Mike Tomlinson, a long time endurance vet. I remember him from my endurance days and really wished I had had the time to sit and listen. I did catch Hilary Clayton's lecture on The Pyramid of Training: A Biomechanical Perspective though, which was definitely worth staying for.
Whether by design or mere coincidence, the USDF Connection had an article by Dr. Clayton in this month's issue - "Some Thoughts on Conditioning Dressage Horses." It's interesting and worth the read. So when I saw her name on the list of lecturers, I was intrigued. She didn't disappoint.
Dr Clayton presented the newly updated Pyramid of Training and talked about a horse's body as it related to the different levels.
If I had to sum up Dr. Clayton's lecture in a tweet, it would go something like this: All horses are born with some asymmetry, and it is our task as riders to help balance them.
Besides Dr. Clayton's lecture, there were a few other educational opportunities that I took a moment to check out. There was a footing rep, a CBD Oil booth (I really wanted to snag a bottle but it was pretty pricey, and a rep from the Flapless EQ Science Saddle. I am sure you've seen this saddle advertised. The first thing most people think is that it's not very traditional, and frankly, it's kind of ugly.
All of that is true although the company has designed a pad that hides all of the innards of the saddle. The panels of this saddle are nearly identical in design to those of the Reactor Panel saddles - I think the rep said the two companies are related somehow.
I have to say, this saddle, as funky as it looks, was really comfortable. And if a horse's sides are anything like the barrel of the saddle stand, you would definitely get a close contact feel. Also surprising was that I couldn't feel the billets underneath my leg at all. I am not in the market for a new saddle, but it never hurts to sit on one that's just standing there.
I am going to be sending my Chapter Chair a write-up of the meeting, and maybe I'll get to go again. Has anyone else ever been to their GMO's annual meeting? Do other GMOs even have annual meetings?
Our GMO equivalent (Provincial Dressage Association) has an annual meeting held every year in conjunction with the Mane Event (large horse expo in Alberta). We don't have a full awards evening, just a short presentation of awards at the end of the AGM but otherwise ours is formatted similarly to yours with an AGM for everyone, and a separate meeting for execs and area group representatives. Like you, the first time I went I was struck by how despite the level of the organization it wasn't as intimidating as I expected and it really is just a group of people wanting to work together to promote and improve the sport of dressage. Good for you for being involved!
1/31/2019 05:31:43 pm
Exactly! Looking behind that "curtain" helped me feel that everyone's voice really does matter!
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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%: