From Endurance to Dressage
In case you didn't already know, I am pretty goal oriented. Sometimes my goals are big (not usually) while others are quite small (more typical). I am not much of a dreamer; I don't even have a bucket list. I usually get an idea and then see it through to the end. My husband used to be surprised by my wild ideas, but now he adds his own two cents and we bumble right along. A few years ago, I came home and told him we were going to Peru over the summer. He gasped and harrumphed about it for a few days, but then we went.
I get an idea, it sticks with me for a few days, and then I work until it's done. The funny thing is that I don't usually know where the ideas come from. Dressage is a perfect example. Why dressage? I honestly don't know. I had no understanding of the sport, I'd never seen a dressage show apart from on TV, and I owned no dressage tack. And yet, the idea took, and here I am.
My goals for the 2013 show season aren't very lofty. I am not feeling compelled to move on to First Level. I am happy plugging along at Training Level, for now. I do want to qualify for the RAAC, and I do want to earn my USDF Rider Award at Training Level.
"USDF Rider Awards are based strictly on the scores the rider achieves over time and need not be earned in one year." Thank goodness for that, or I'd be up a creek without a paddle!
The Rider Performance Awards may be achieved at Training, First, and Second Levels. Riders must earn four scores of 60% or higher at the respective level from two different shows, four different judges, and four different rides. So far I have two scores from two judges from two different shows. I just need two more scores from two different judges.
In order to be eligible for a USDF Rider Award, a rider must have a Participating Membership (PM) or a Group Membership (GM) when scores are earned. I have a group membership with my GMO, the California Dressage Society.
The horse need not have a USDF Lifetime Horse Registration Number (LHR) at the time the scores are earned, but the horse must meet minimum competition eligibility requirements at the time the scores are earned. Speedy has a USDF Horse ID Number which meets the requirement.
Scores may be earned on one or more horses. Good to know, but so far I am on track to do it with just one horse, Speedy G.
I think the Rider Performance Awards are a way to encourage riders to begin their journey toward earning their Bronze, Silver, and ultimately, their Gold Medal. When the 2012 USDF yearbook arrived, I flipped through the pages eagerly hoping to spot riders' names that I knew. I saw that Jennifer Nunez, from Ventura County Chapter of CDS, earned her Bronze Medal. I looked for other riders that I knew, but no one's name popped out. It must be quite exciting to earn the Bronze medal.
Near the back of the Yearbook is the list of riders who have earned their Rider Performance Awards (RPA) at Training, First, and Second Levels. There were a ton more medal recipients than Performance Award recipients. From a goal oriented thinker's point of view, this seemed really odd, but then I gave it more thought. There are likely many reasons why the list of names is so small.
First, it might be that many Training Level riders are not aware that there is an award available to them long before the Bronze medal. And to add to that confusion, the award is not automatically mailed out; riders must complete an application and submit a $25 fee. It might also be that riders don't feel that the Performance Award is worth the trouble. For those riders, the medals might be the recognition they seek. Out of the Training Level list of riders pictured below, only four were Californians.
I would be over-the-moon happy if I could get my two scores before summer. My first opportunity will be March 16th and 17th. I've already sent in my entry to the Spring Dressage Show at Hansen Dam Equestrian Center. This show is my first USDF/USEF/CDS show of the season. It's also a two-day show with two different judges which means that I could conceivably earn the last two scores needed to complete the requirements for my very own Training Level Rider Performance Award.
But no pressure or anything!
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 Second Level. 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%
2021 Show Season
(r) Ride-a-Test Clinic
(Q) Must Qualify
2021 Pending …
8/7-8 SCEC (***)
10/30-31 SCEC (***)
2021 Completed …
10/24-25 SCEC (***)
11/7-11/8 SB (***)
4/10-11 SCEC (***)
5/16-17 El Sueño (***)
6/26-27 SCEC (***)
7/17-18 El Sueño (***)
2021 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
2nd Level Qualifying
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%:
Score 1: 60.610% Bhathal
2nd Level Qualifying
5 Scores/4 Judges/61%:
Stuff I Read