From Endurance to Dressage
Last week, while listening to Mike Rowe's podcast, The Way I Heard It (which is fascinating by the way), his guest made a comment that really made me stop and think. The guest, George 'Tyrus' Murdoch, is a regular on Fox News's late night program, Gutfeld. To be honest, I had never heard of Murdoch, I don't know who Gutfeld is, and I can't stay awake long enough to watch anything classified as "late night TV." It doesn't matter though because I enjoy listening to all kinds of points of view, especially so when they're expressed with logic and respect.
Anyway, what Murdoch said was this (and I am paraphrasing): Essentially, there are two kinds of people. The first are those who look outside of themselves for the cause of their hardships or the reason why things happen to them. They also look outside of themselves for solutions. The second type of persons looks within to understand how their own behavior has brought them to the point of wherever they may find themselves. They also look inward to make changes in an effort to change their circumstances. Guess which one I am?
I don't think one is better than the other. I am clearly one of those people who looks inward to figure out what I am doing wrong to cause whatever situation I find myself in. If something is going wrong, it is obviously my fault, and this is especially true when it comes to riding. If one of my horses isn't doing what I am asking, the fault always lies with me. I am not asking in the right way, my aids are unclear, my tension is getting in the way, and on and on.
The great thing about this way of viewing the world is that the solution can also be found within. If I make a change in the way I am riding, if I become better educated, if I seek heIp ... I have the power to fix things. There are pitfalls in living with this point of view though. If everything is my fault - Speedy's physical limitations come to mind, I will continue to look for a solution even if there isn't one. Speedy is one in a million, but even Charlotte Dujardin wouldn't be able to score a 90% on him.
Izzy is full of talent, but he also likes to be in charge even when he has no idea what the hell he is doing. It is difficult for me to admit that sometimes, I am doing all that can be done. During my lesson on Saturday - more on that tomorrow, Sean Cunningham, owner and trainer at STC Dressage, pointed out that in the particular instance of what we were talking about, I was already doing everything right; I just need to be patient. If I keep doing what I am doing, Izzy will get there.
I can't change which type of person I am, and even if I could, I wouldn't want to. Looking to myself for solutions means I have an excellent work ethic. It also allows me to get things done because as we all know, if you want something done right, do it yourself. I don't have to reply on a trainer to fix something. I don't have to wait until my horse matures. I don't have to wait on anyone or anything. If I want something to change, I simply have to take a long look at myself and ask, how can I do this better? And while it might not happen tomorrow, as long as it is possible - I am not making it to the Olympics no matter how hard I work, I can make it happen eventually.
That's an empowering way to live.
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
*** SCEC 10/15-16/22
2022 Completed …
(*) Tehachapi 5/22/22
(*) Tehachapi 7/24/22
(***) Tehachapi 8/28/22
2023 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
Qualifying Training Level
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%:
Score 1: 62.115%