From Endurance to Dressage
Before you go thinking that Part 2 must have a comeback story, it doesn't. In fact, we scored even worse than on the first test. Two things to note however - 1) I had never Ridden test 3 all the way through, only its individual parts, and 2) both my trainer and I felt that I did a much better job regardless what the score says.
Before the ride recap, which isn't going to be that exciting anyway unless you love the number 5, I want to share a super quick story. I've told you this first part about 900 times, but here it is again (make it 901).
I rode my first dressage test just a week or two after an endurance ride. Speedy and I started at Introductory Level. Having already competed in endurance racing for nearly two decades, it was tough going back to beginner status. I desperately wanted to be successful and felt that getting to Training Level was where it was at. Forget about First Level; I knew I'd never make it there. Second Level was home to the Big Dogs. I felt guilty even breathing their air.
The way the dressage court is situated at the Bear Valley Equestrian Center, most people wander back and forth between the court and the show office. To get to the arena, riders have to pass through this back and forth traffic. Speedy loves it as he is always surrounded by what he considers his peeps.
A very nice woman walked up to us and wanted to chat. She was very complimentary as she stroked Speedy's face. During our conversation, she said something like, I ride, but I'll never be as good as those of you riding at Second Level. Imagine my embarrassment. I spluttered, didn't you just see my test? If I can make it to Second Level I told her, ANYONE can!
The lesson for me is that Grand Prix riders put on their underwear just like I do. And for those of you who feel like everyone else is doing it better; they're not. Okay, maybe some of them are, but they have their bad days too.
After the first test, Chemaine Hurtado, owner and trainer at Symphony Dressage Stables, insisted that I ride with a whip and get after Speedy each and every time he tried to drop behind the bit and leave his hind end trailing.
I am not sure the judge liked a single moment of this test other than when we turned to leave the arena. Fifteen of the twenty-seven scores were 5.5 or lower. She even found creative ways to criticize. Her comment on our final halt, too many short steps into halt. It felt like she was really digging for a negative thing to say. Her favorite word was "too". He was either too deep, too shallow, too constrained, or too high.
I am not suggesting that the judge was wrong, but it felt as though she had made up her mind about us after the first test. I feel like judging can be done in at least two ways. First, some judges look to reward your good moments. Other judges take a more negative view looking to penalize your bad moments. On this day, it felt like we had more of the latter.
In all probability, it's just a case of sour grapes. I didn't get a good score so the judge must be mean. I don't think so though. Our final score was a 55.122%. At least I know what we need to work on. Here's the video.
Our next show is in two weeks. It's another two-day USDF show. We'll see how it goes!
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
*** SCEC 10/15-16/22
2022 Completed …
(*) Tehachapi 5/22/22
(*) Tehachapi 7/24/22
(***) Tehachapi 8/28/22
2023 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
Qualifying Training Level
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%:
Score 1: 62.115%