From Endurance to Dressage
My husband and I went to Phoenix a few weeks ago. Even though it's only about an eight hour drive, we opted to fly. We flew in Saturday morning, went to a wedding that evening, and flew back home the next morning. Normally, I would have been "in charge" of boarding passes, hotel reservations, and planning our transportation to and from the airport.
That's just me. If I am involved in something, I go all in. I've matured a lot over the last decade and realized that my husband is more than capable of handling things like boarding passes and hotel reservations. For the first time ever, I just didn't have the time or energy to contribute one thing to this trip, much less organize the whole thing, so I left everything to him. It was the most liberating feeling to just go along for the ride.
Dressage is one of those things that I care about, so I am completely immersed. For me, that means I have to do all of it: showing, clinics, and lessons. And I can't just do those things a few times a year, I am compelled to be doing them all the time.
Occasionally, I wish that I could be less committed, but that's just my personality: it's all or nothing. That's how endurance riding was as well. I did one last race and then just quit. I've come to realize that other people are able to approach life with more balance. They don't feel the compulsions that I do. They can go along for the ride, at least occasionally.
Many of you don't live and breathe dressage, meaning you have a little more balance in your life. Maybe you have kids or other hobbies or deal with health issues. Whatever it is, you don't feel compelled to spend every dollar and every extra minute planning your show and clinic year. The amount and types of show you do probably dictate what sorts of memberships you pay for.
Which brings me to the real point of this post. Lots of you have been writing and sharing your plan for renewing memberships. I have been reading those comments and blog posts with utter fascination. I've discovered that the various GMOs don't all work the same way.
The California Dressage Society (CDS) is one of the largest GMOs (almost 1,300 members) in the USDF. There are some CDS Chapters that host CDS-rated only shows, but they are certainly the minority. Most of the shows here in California are both CDS and USDF/USEF rated. I have never seen a show that was only USDF-rated and not also rated by CDS or DASC, a much smaller GMO located in Southern California.
Since CDS is such a large and well developed organization, those who show with any regularity join CDS, but fewer join USDF as Participating Members, especially if you're an adult amateur with no plans on showing at the USDF Regional show. I imagine most of our professional riders and trainers join USDF as Participating Members, and they also join CDS.
Riders in Southern California join CDS and DASC. Although I have no idea how many people join both. I would guess most join CDS and only those interested in the DASC Championship Show will also join DASC.
So. I would love to know how many people join their local GMO or just USDF. How many join both, or more than one GMO? How many GMOs host non USDF-rated shows? How many regions host USDF only rated shows? How many GMOs have championships?
I've put together a small poll just to see if any patterns emerge. Of course, it's not a great poll as there isn't a way for me to track what part of the country you're from, but please share that as a comment. I would also love to hear your rationale for joining or not joining USDF or your local GMO.
Thanks for participating and commenting. I am really looking forward to your answers!
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%: