From Endurance to Dressage
Because my GMO (California Dressage Society - CDS) is so big and offers so many awards, I only join USDF as a Group Member (GM). As a GM I am only eligible for Rider Awards but not Horse Performance Certificates, the Adequan Awards, or the All-Breeds Award. Like I said though, CDS offers so many awards, plus a great championship show held in conjunction with the USDF Region 7 Championship show, that I've never felt the need to join as a Group Member.
The only thing that kind of calls my name though is the Adequan/USDF All-Breeds Award. Each year when the Yearbook edition of the USDF Connection arrives in my mailbox, I hungrily flip to the All-Breeds Award section and check out how we might have fared against the Arabian Horse Association (AHA) winners. For adult amateur awards, a rider must have at least eight scores from four judges from four different shows AND a median score of 60% or greater (Training through Fourth Levels). In 2019, Speedy and I had eight scores from two judges from two shows and a median of (roughly) only 56.5%. We wouldn't have qualified for this year's All-Breeds Award.
There have been years though, like in 2018, where we might have been competitive. In 2018, we had a median score of (roughly) 61% at Second Level which included sixteen total scores from five shows and five judges. 2019's first and second place riders (at Second Level) clocked in at 63% and 62%. We might have been close.
The main reason I don't declare for All-Breeds is because it's pretty expensive.
That doesn't mean I still don't find the idea attractive. If I didn't ride two such popular breeds - a lot of Arabians get All-Breeds Awards, and the RPSI horses all have scores in the high 60s and 70s, I might be more interested in signing up. If I rode a rescue horse or maybe a Clydesdale, I'd be much more interested in showcasing my breed. Which brings me to the real point of this post. Have you seen some of the Participating Organizations (PO) that give out awards? The list is fascinating!
A few of the associations really jumped out at me, so I thought I'd do a little research and learn more about them. First of all, who doesn't want to ride a Clydesdale? The one and only time I did, I had an absolute blast. My non-horsey husband did, too! The Clydesdale Breeders of the U.S.A, a new PO in 2019, had a winner - Kim Fiore riding Freedom Royal Legacy at Training Level.
Another association that caught my eye was the Hungarian Horse Association of America. This is definitely a breed that is new to me. Apparently more people know something about these horses than me since in 2019, the HHA awarded All-Breeds Awards from Training Level to Prix St. Georges, including a Freestyle winner.
The International Drum Horse Association would cause anyone to stop and take a second look. According to their website: Actually named after a “job” performed by the horse, The Drum Horse is an important member of the Queen of England's Band of the Life Guards. These horses carry two large solid silver kettle Drums, plus a fully outfitted rider, through crowds of thousands, during the Queen’s processions! The fact that the Drum Horse can remain quiet in large crowds of people while being controlled entirely by reins attached to their rider’s feet is a testament to the Drum Horse's extraordinary disposition.
It doesn't appear as though IDHA awarded any horses an All-Breeds Award this year, but they're not a new PO, so they must have had winners in the past. I'm going to keep my eye open for one of these beauties.
The International Georgian Grande Horse Registry gave out All-Breeds Awards from Training through Fourth Level to Open and Adult Amateurs alike in 2019. During the 1970s, a breeder named George Wagner Jr. started crossing drafts to Saddlebreds to recreate the[m] as closely as possible the original Saddlebred type. He wanted to bring back the heavier boned, bigger Saddlebreds of the historic past, which were more robust and sensible. One example of the original type Saddlebred was General Robert E. Lee’s horse, Traveler, who was Lee’s favorite horse throughout his many battle campaigns.
This definitely sounds like a breed that can work all day comfortably!
We know that dressage is good for all horses, but the International Rescue Horse Registry is making sure that all horses, no matter their breed, get a chance to be recognized. This registry is the dream of a horse rescue board member, trainer and supporter. We'd like to give the wonderful people who give new life to abused and rescued horses a chance to register them (even if the pedigree is unknown) and earn End-of-Year Awards and scholarships.
The IRHR recognized ten different horses in 2019 by giving All-Breeds Awards from Training through Second Level.
The USDF All-Breeds Award isn't really for me, at this point anyway, but I sure do like that so many registries and associations are stepping up to get their breeds recognized by USDF. Another thing that I like about the program is that most of the breeds listed aren't warmbloods. No bias against warmbloods, but dressage really is for all horses, so it's great to see so many breeds and types of horses getting out there and showing in the sport.
As I look over the list of All-Breeds Participating Organizations, the one breed I am dying to try out is the Haflinger. I keep threatening to get one as my next horse. By the time I'm ready for a new horse, I am going to need one that is short, sturdy, and not at all interested in breaking a sweat. Is there a breed you'd like to take for a spin?
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%: