From Endurance to Dressage
I swear I write this exact same post year after year. Not that it's entitled Third Level Challenges. One year I am sure it was called something like Training Level Terrors or First Level Fraud. I know it was called Second Level Sucks last year. The point is that each year that I've made the decision for Speedy and I to move up, I've regretted it immediately.
Second Level will always be my reminder that that we can overcome. I started the season terrified to ride in a local show for fear of looking like the world's greatest hack. Scarier than that was the thought of not being able to earn at least one 60% for my CDS plaque. I was certain that we were way out of our league. Imagine my surprise when instead of earning just one qualifying score during the year, Speedy and I managed to earn 15 scores above 60%, our second best of any season so far! Take that, self doubt!
I've been riding Speedy all week even though he didn't start out perfectly sound; the abscess is/was still healing. He felt 100% sound yesterday though, so I finally started re-schooling the medium trot with an eye toward the extended trot. Uh-oh. We're in trouble.
Rather than let myself feel defeated, I decided to get to work studying the tests. There's a lot to learn for sure. I read the purpose of Third Level and gulped. The part that got me was engagement. The word is used twice, but then they throw in self-carriage which requires, you guessed it, engagement.
There are almost no changes for the 2019 Third Level tests, which tells me the tests must flow pretty well. There are a lot of double coefficients though, Including a new one for the flying change. On the other hand, there is also one for the rein back which we do well. I took a deep breath, and instead of panicking over what we can't do, I separated what we can already do from what we need to work on.
Here are the movements required for each test at the level and how I feel about it:
If I had to ride Third Level Test 1 tomorrow, I feel like we could at least do all of the movements. The extended gaits would come with the comment "need to show more". The half pass would read, "needs more bend and engagement". We might get lucky and get clean flying changes, but in all likelihood, the comment would read "tense and explosive".
It's a good thing I like to work hard because I see a lot of hard work in front of us. Don't tell Speedy though; he's not a fan of manual labor. Third Level? We got this (sort of, almost, probably).
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%: