From Endurance to Dressage
I really wanted to use Sunday's show to work on my own relaxation. My goals were two-fold:
For both tests, I entered at A focusing on my ride and thinking about how I wanted to execute each movement. In the past, the tests always just flew by in fast forward which always left me playing catch up. With more experience, I am finding that I am able to ride much more in the moment which is certainly helping to improve my scores.
Aberdeen, Speedy's new trail buddy, went up with us, and after checking that I truly didn't need help with anything, she went and hung out with an acquaintance as well as a few other people to whom I had just introduced her. That left me free to focus on my horse and get myself mentally prepared for my first test. I suspect her "disappearance" was very deliberate, but I appreciated it.
I was actually saddled ten minutes too early, which turned out to be a blessing as there was a glitch in the schedule. It turns out my first ride time was fifteen minutes earlier than I thought. Had I been on Sydney, the earlier time would have been a problem, but with Speedy, I simply shrugged my shoulders about it. He hardly needs a warm up.
The purpose of the Training Level Tests is to confirm the horse is supple and moves forward in a clear and steady rhythm, accepting contact with the bit. We've got that, but what we need now for First Level is more forward thrust and better bend for the lateral work. First Level's purpose is to confirm that the horse has developed the thrust to achieve improved balanced and thoroughness and to maintain a more consistent contact with the bit.
As I rode Training Level Test 2, I kept the ideas of forward thrust and inside bend in my mind and tried to get as much as I could from Speedy. At the test's end, I was a bit disappointed as I know we've ridden the test better. I felt that by asking for more thrust, we sacrificed some rhythm. I also felt like my half halts weren't going through in the corners which negatively affected the bend.
Here are some photos. Some show me with a solid position, while others show areas of needs to improve.
At the show Speedy and I did a few weeks ago, I thought I rode this test better, but I scored a very low 61.250% on day one. This time, I knew the test wasn't our best, but the judge awarded us a whopping 67.679% and the comment, "confident partner."
The judge is a licensed "S" judge, which means that he can judge all levels at national shows, so I don't know if my scores were a tad higher since this was only a CDS show and not a USDF-rated show or not. Interestingly, the judge at the last show (USDF-rated) is an "R" judge which means he can only judge through 4th Level. It just goes to show that you never can tell.
Here is the score sheet.
Look at the second movement: 7.5, active, well bent. We got heavily dinged a few weeks ago on that same movement; we had no inside bend and needed more activity. It would seem as though our work over the past two weeks is paying off.
The stretchy trot is our nemesis, but look at the slew of sevens. That just blows me away! I love the comment at movement fourteen, steady bend and energy. And that's to the right!
It's hard to ask to ask for more than a very steady test. We'll probably never get comments of "brilliant ride," or "fancy mover," but I'll definitely take steady!
And even though I didn't feel that this was our best work, I heard that the score earned us the Adult Amateur High Point which has a $50 cash prize. Not a bad way to start and end the day!
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%: