From Endurance to Dressage
The Eighty-Dollar Champion
I started The Eighty-Dollar Champion on Saturday and read over half of it in one afternoon. It's that good.
There is a quote at the very start of the book that spoke to me so directly that I knew I was led to this book for a reason.
So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then, when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable.
- Christopher Reeve.
Thank you Mr. Reeve for summing up my dressage experience. I often times feel as though this journey into dressage is happening by the sheer force of my will. None of it has come easily. None of it has just happened. It takes a concerted effort each and every day to make the next step a reality. This quote will now follow Lilo Fore's as a reminder to myself to press on.
I finished Elizabeth Letts's book last night. If you're not familiar with the title, it's a biography of Snowman, a horse who was rescued from the killers, and Harry de Leyer, who not only bought him off the slaughterhouse truck, but who then trained him to be a champion show jumper. It's a horse story, but at the same time it is a re-telling of America's history during the 1950s.
There is no dressage element to the book, but the story of how Harry scrapes up enough money for schooling shows and then for the rated shows all in effort to create a champion that he actually owned will resonate with every amateur out there. Most of us can't afford a $50,000 horse and a full-time trainer. Neither could Harry. Instead, he bought discarded horses and trained them himself. Harry's "discount" journey will ring very true to most horse owners whether they're show jumpers or not.
As I read the book, Harry's relationship with Snowman reminded me so much of my own gray pony. Like Snowman, Speedy loves the attention of strangers, particularly from kids. While Speedy will probably never be a National Champion, I still love him and value him as a member of my family as Harry valued Snowman. I think many of us have, or have had, our own Eighty-Dollar Champions - even if they never actually earned the blue ribbon to say so.
9/12/2012 09:32:06 am
9/12/2012 10:20:05 pm
Nothing beats a good book, Lori. I'll have to look into Emerson's book. Thanks for sharing!
This book is next up on my reading list! Bohemian's story has been accepted by Elizabeth Lett's blog "Do You Have the Next Eighty Dollar Champion" though it hasn't been posted yet (we got a bumper sticker - woot!).
9/12/2012 10:19:19 pm
Ooh! Thanks for the share - can't wait to send in something. Just last night I had a huge grin on my face as I finished my lesson on Sydney. JL even gave us a compliment. :0)
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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%: