From Endurance to Dressage
I have a love/hate relationship with US Equestrian, the official sanctioning body of all equine sports. And really, it's more of a hate relationship. There is so much that bugs me about the organization that it's hard to pick just one or two things. The only thing I "love" about them is that they make the rules, and I am a rule-follower through and through.
Before you jump all over me about how great US Equestrian is for equine sports, I get it. It works much the same as Trickle-Down Economics where favoring top horse and rider teams will eventually benefit grass-roots riders like myself - in theory anyway. We need to subsidize and promote the Laura Graves and Verdades of American equestrian sports. Without them there wouldn't be a place for the Speedys and Izzys of the world to compete. Insert big eye roll. Nothing personal, Laura. You're my idol.
I recently received the "yearbook" version of US Equestrian Magazine. It's the issue that chronicles all of the Horse of the Year Awards. It also included an article wherein US Equestrian's president, Murray Kessler, described the "Strategic Plan's five-step 'virtuous circle.'" A what circle? The plan, I refuse to call it a "virtuous circle," included:
The "plan" was followed by a lot of yada yada yada ... heard it all before kind of stuff that initiated yet another massive eye roll. Number 1 being ...
Revenues have climbed and reserves are up. No kidding, US Equestrian. Don't you remember your ridiculously high rate increase of two years ago? Our membership rose from $55 a year to $80, a 62% increase. When was the last time you got a 62% raise?
I guess the real reason that US Equestrian annoys me so much is that I get exactly two things for my $80 yearly fee: the privilege of showing as an adult amateur (professional riders don't have to join US Equestrian to maintain their professional status) and a magazine that I rarely read. That's it. There are no atta girl certificates, no patches or plates, nothing to earn. To US Equestrian, I am simply another $80 to add to their coffers.
To earn anything, I'd have to pay an additional $95 a year to bump up Speedy's Horse ID to an Annual Recording membership. And if I did that, I'm not quite sure what we'd be eligible for, but I am pretty sure it wouldn't be the types of awards that USDF and CDS offer when a horse earns a specified number of scores. So, no thanks.
In an effort to be fair to US Equestrian, they did finally send out something useful: the 2019 USEF Guidelines for Drugs and Medications. This little pamphlet was actually put together with the membership's needs in mind. The very first page has four QR Codes that actually work and take you right to the form you need.
The next page very succinctly sums up the rules and requirements relating to Pergolide, the drug used to treat Equine Cushing's disease. Speedy was diagnosed with the disease this winter, so US Equestrian's recent decision to allow Therapeutic Use Exemptions came at the perfect time for us.
The pamphlet covers a few other drugs as well and includes a Common Prohibited Substance list along with a quick guide as to when the last dose of some common drugs can be administered and how long many drugs remain detectable.
I am sure US Equestrian makes some positive contributions to dressage that actually benefit adult amateurs, but they're not doing the best job of making me aware of what those things might actually be. Since I need AA status - who wants to show Open?, I'll continue to fork over my $80 annually, but I don't have to like it.
Before I wrap this up, I found something in the Yearbook issue that totally and completely cracked me up. See for yourself.
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%: