From Endurance to Dressage
As I mentioned earlier this week, Speedy and I had one more show to bring the season to a close. I don't know how he felt about it, but I was pretty much over it before it started. That doesn't mean I didn't ride to the best of my ability; I am no quitter after all, but I had to really suck it up hard to get myself motivated.
But before I tell that part of the story, I have to share this cuteness overload. Two of my colleagues brought their little girls to the show, and Speedy proved his worth yet again. After some initial shyness paired with a bit of fear, the girls relaxed and had a ball. I don't know how I got so lucky with this horse. He is an absolute saint and worthy of a forever home.
I kept a close eye at first, but after being sure that Speedy was okay with it all (this was after our tests, so he was all about relaxation and pampering), I let the girls have at it. They dragged those buckets and step stool around, brushing every inch of his coat, and then they did it again.
They took out his braids, combed his tail, and then started braiding everything that could be braided - more than once. They rubbed conditioner into his mane and tail and even picked out his (already cleaned) feet.
Eventually, the long day started to get to me, so they helped me pack everything up and watched as Speedy hopped into the trailer - they had already been in and out of the trailer several times themselves. I am pretty sure both moms are going to be asked if they can go see Speedy again!
As for the "important" part of Sunday - really though, the part with the girls was way more fun; even Speedy thought so, I felt like we put out a solid test 1. The judge disagreed. We earned a rather puny 58.636%, much lower than we've been earning. Initially, I felt like the judge was extremely harsh. After watching the video, I can certainly see a few weakness - those halts definitely need some work. Even taking those into account, I still feel as though the judge was a bit punitive.
Most of the scores for the First, Second, and Third Level horses were in the low 50s and 60s. I feel like I have a pretty good handle on what my scores should be after riding at least 25 tests this year alone. In my experience, there are two types of judges. The first assumes you're earning a 6.0 and unless you do something obviously bad, you're getting that 6.0 (or maybe even something higher). The second type of judge starts you off at a zero and expects you to earn every point. That kind of judge really likes 5.0s. Sunday's judge seemed more like the latter sort.
The test wasn't all low scores though. We earned four 7.0s - one for a shoulder-in and one for the rein back. Both of those movements have double coefficients. The other two were for the quality of our serpentine and Speedy's gaits. We also earned three 6.5s and twelve 6.0s.
What killed us were the three 4.0s (one was totally earned when we got an incorrect lead) and the five 5.0s. That's eight sub-par scores. No one's bringing home a decent score with those marks. And really, the 5.0 that he gave me for Effective Use of the Aids seemed just mean.
The Judge is an "S" judge which means he's licensed to judge all tests at national level shows. Some judges are just tougher than others. I am sure that some of the spectators and volunteers will say he was more than fair, but until you go to a lot of shows and see the scores that other judges give, it's really hard to get a sense of what is "fair." But you know, it is what it is. That's just how it goes.
Here's the video with super helpful commentary by my trainer, Chemaine Hurtado, owner and trainer at Symphony Dressage Stables.
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 Second Level. He is a 2008, 16'3 hand warmblood gelding. His Rheinland Pfalz-saar International (RPSI) name is Imperioso.
CDS Sapphire Rider Award
Third Level: 63.514%
Third Level: 62.105%
2021 Show Season
(r) Ride-a-Test Clinic
(Q) Must Qualify
2021 Pending …
11/7-11/8 SB (***)
2021 Completed …
10/24-25 SCEC (***)
2021 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
2nd Level Qualifying
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%:
Score 1: 60.610% Bhathal
2nd Level Qualifying
5 Scores/4 Judges/61%:
Stuff I Read