From Endurance to Dressage
Third Level Time Shortage
I had a funny "recall" moment the other day. I'll get to my point, but first ...
Endurance races were grueling, gritty, and hard-core affairs. If your horse crossed the finish line in last place hungrily looking for his hay bag, the day was a success. If the rider could make it to the awards dinner with only a few scratches and some seriously smelly clothes, the entire weekend was worth the multiple tanks of gas to get there. Endurance racing is an extreme sport for sure; it's raw, it's bone crushing, and it will wear you out. I loved it though.
When I first started showing dressage, I thought it was just a big party. White pants? A coat in the summer? Weird, but let's do this! Instead of being mounted for 10 - 20 hours, I rode for an hour. Maybe. Instead of looking for the ubiquitous neon pink trail ribbons, I watched for letters. I tried to get everyone I knew to come and show. It's fun. It's cheap. You'll love it. The most common "no" that I heard was My horse isn't ready.
Upon hearing the scores from my first show ever. The "trainer" I had just lessoned with warned me not to tell anyone that I had ridden with her. She predicted I'd earn a 36% and didn't want my scores to reflect on her. The joke was on her as we earned two scores of 63.5%. You can bet I didn't mention her name.
I wondered how a horse couldn't be ready. Can he walk, trot, and canter? Then he's ready. This was of course as I was making my way through Introductory Level and then Training Level. I honestly believed that any horse who was sound and could stay in the ring was ready. I still felt this way at First Level. So maybe a lengthening of stride wasn't there, but come on, it's just basic stuff.
And now I get it. Third Level. We're just not ready, and I don't see how we will get ready. There simply isn't enough time to get everything show ready by March or April. We have a chunk of the Third Level stuff good to go. I can get a nice bouncy collected trot. Speedy loves the medium trot even if he can't really show utmost ground cover. We have a show-worthy turn on the haunches, and the 10-meter stuff is pretty easy for him.
What we don't have is a reliable flying change, especially after being off for more than a month due to those two abscesses. The half pass isn't that great either. Unlike a trainer from eons ago, Chemaine Hurtado, owner and trainer at Symphony Dressage Stables, isn't (too) worried about me embarrassing her. It's really the other way around. I don't want to get out there and make her look bad.
I've made her promise not to let me show if I am going to go out there and look stupid. She always laughs, but I am dead serious. I don't want to end up on some YouTube video or on a COTH thread about riders who are idiots.
On the other hand, I refuse to succumb to the we're not ready excuse. I don't think I am ever going to feel ready for Third Level. I am going to have to settle for at least we're trying.
Besides that, we've already looked like idiots plenty of times. What's one more?
2/11/2019 08:18:41 am
It took us the better part of a year to get from Second to solid Third (with a sketchy change). It's a big step in collection that takes A LOT of time to build the strength for. So don't wait till it's perfect, but also don't rush yourself - go out when you're feeling confident in the movements and your ability to string them all together. Good luck!
2/18/2019 05:57:05 am
That's been my thinking. Once Speedy is well, we'll start showing. Fortunately, I have to miss the nearby March show (we're REALLY not ready now) due to a conflict, and then we're going to the Lio Fore clinic in April. Another conflict forces me to miss an early April show. That puts us showing in May. By then, we should have things more under control. :0)
2/18/2019 05:58:18 am
Exactly! If I had a super fancy horse, I'd probably feel super ready. But I don't, so I always struggle at the beginning of the season. We're a learn as we go kind of team. LOL
2/18/2019 05:59:43 am
Yep! We definitely learn as we go. I always laugh when I read that I should be schooling a level above where we're showing. If I had done that, we'd never have made it to Introductory Level! :0)
Comments are closed.
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%: