From Endurance to Dressage
This is the M R B P F long side.
My warm up didn't go so well, but neither did my last schooling ride on Friday. I don't know what was wrong. Speedy has just been tense and not super thrilled with the idea of relaxing and working over his back. Maybe I am asking for too much too tightly. I dunno ...
Even though I wasn't thrilled with how he warmed up, I went in with what I had. Our trot down the alley felt great, and I actually felt like we were improving as the test started which is a novel feeling for me. I was actually feeling good.
We started off with two sevens which confirms the feeling I had. We also earned a six for our left lead canter depart which is huge for us. The stretchy trot continues to be my nemesis; we earned a five. We rocked the free walk with a seven (!) and even got a decent working trot at C (six).
And then things went all to Hell. See photo just below. Most of the spectators sit in the bleachers on the right, or they sit along the long side just under those trees.
The "A" end of the arena doesn't really have pedestrian access. It's just a sloping hill covered in foxtails and tall grass. The warm up arena is down below, and there are cattle pens off to the left of the arena but below the berm.
For unknown reasons, three "spectators," and I use that term with jaw clenched, decided to approach the dressage court from over the top of the berm through the foxtails all the while chatting loudly and toting armloads of stuff: a folding chair, beach bag, and other miscellaneous hand-held items. They popped into view just as I approached "P" during my right circle at B.
I felt Speedy suck back and pop his nose into the air. I added tons of leg, but there was no way I could keep the right bend. In a VERY loud voice, I yelled, "STOP MOVING, please!" To their credit, they did stop moving, but the chair, beach bag, and other miscellaneous items also froze in midair where they had been swinging along. This freaked Speedy out even more.
As I finished the circle at B heading back to A, I realized, in horror, that the spectators were still frozen with all items still hanging in the air in some weird version of Red Light/Green Light. Holy crap! I was able to get Speedy to pass, but it wasn't pretty. I circled at A and tried to develop a right lead canter in the second half of the circle. Uh ... yeah ... nope. Speedy started and sputtered and moved his four legs in anything but a nice 1, 2, 3 canter rhythm. I finally gave up and just got him by them again, for the third pass. They were STILL frozen in place!
Our trot down the center line is one of our strengths so I did my best to pull him together for one last chance to salvage the ride. It must have worked because the judge gave us a six for our effort. We halted, I saluted, and then my lower lip started to tremble as tears threatened. We left the arena as my new "friends" bumbled their way to their seats. As I exited at A, the next rider gave me a that really sucked comment and then followed it with an atta girl, you handled that really well.
I moped my way back to the trailer still fighting tears. I popped Speedy's halter on and made sure his hay and water were within reach. Then I boohooed my way into the trailer and quickly dialed Cha Ching's mom for an attitude adjustment. She knew just what to say, Damn those insensitive people!, and within minutes I had a smile back on and was ready to go ride test 2.
Here is the Training Level, Test 1 score sheet. Our trouble started at movement 10. Check out the judge's comment, distracted at P. Yeah, ya think?! Final score was a 57.500% Click images to enlarge.
7/24/2012 05:29:43 am
Thanks, Sarah. It's part of showing, isn't it? I am just adding the experience to my list of other showing foibles. The upside is that my list of funny stories is growing quickly! :0)
7/24/2012 05:32:54 am
I thought the judge was very generous in describing Speedy as "distracted." I guess the USDF doesn't have a judging term for Holy Sh*t/Freaked Out!
Frustrating, but nobody died AND you didn't hit the dirt AND you got a great story out of it.
7/24/2012 07:36:51 am
Hot air balloons? Seriously?! That's just asking too much. I am truly laughing out loud as I envision those balloons silently, or not so silently, rising into the air. Speedy's eyes would have been the size of dinner plates. :0)
7/24/2012 02:59:47 pm
I am so sorry to read about your first test. You'd think they would have known better; perhaps, they do now ;)
7/24/2012 10:43:24 pm
Stuff happens. At least it was just a "small" show where I wasn't trying to earn points to qualify. It just tells me that Speedy needs to learn to keep his focus inside the dressage court. :0)
7/25/2012 11:31:41 am
Wow. Were they horse people? Sneaking up a hill with a circus in tow in no way to approach the competition arena. Very strange. You handled it very well, though.
7/26/2012 07:03:55 am
They were probably friends of horse people. The truth is, it just means that Speedy wasn't really focused on the job at hand. That's what lower levels are for I suppose. And, you just never know when something is going to happen that is out of your control - like a soccer game. Better to learn now how to get his attention back than later when the score REALLY counts. :0)
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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%: