From Endurance to Dressage
Be forewarned. I am over it already, so if I sound blasé, know that it is not out of arrogance, but out of humility. One good show does not make me any better than I was two weeks ago, although Chemaine hates it when I lowball myself. (Sorry, Chemaine. I am just not good at blowing my own horn.)
I was the first rider in ring 2 on Saturday. That can be either great, or a little unnerving. I felt like I was setting the stage for everyone else. If nothing else, the rest of the riders would reap the rewards after the judge saw us go as it's a near certainty that they'll be better. For the last two years in a row I've scored dead last in the RAAC class. Not just low, but DEAD last. TWICE. I hoped this year would put me at least in the middle of the field.
When I go to a show, I am truly riding to beat my last score regardless of where that places me against the rest of the field. I am not too terribly competitive against other riders, but I do want to kick my own butt. But last? I wanted to do better.
I finished Training Level Test 2 with a feeling of having put in a solid ride, but I knew it wasn't perfect. There were some bobbles here and there, although nothing went spectacularly wrong.
I had about 45 minutes until Training Level Test 3, so I took Speedy back to his stall and let him get a drink and hang out for a few minutes. I didn't have time to check my scores, so I had to wing my next test without the benefit of seeing what the judge liked or wasn't so pleased with in Test 2.
I left that test feeling like it too was fairly solid, but again, there were little hiccups here and there. I untacked Speedy, ditched my breeches for shorts, and walked over to the board to check my scores.
When I looked at the first score, my heart dropped into my stomach. My score was scratched out which I was CERTAIN meant that I had been disqualified for some reason. When I looked closer to see why, I realized that my score was written above the scribble, and then my heart took a magnificent leap. Was that right? I had scored a 70.179% at a USDF show.
Not only was I not dead last, I had just earned a personal best on a USEF test (I have another 70% at a USDF shows, but it was at Introductory Level and not recognized by USEF). My mission for the weekend was complete. I had earned a qualifying score for the CDS Championship, and I had ridden to the best of my ability. I was ready to pack it up and head home.
I couldn't have been more thrilled with a second place ribbon. And to make it even better, there were more than two riders in the class. I never place high so this felt pretty sweet. Then I checked out my score for the biggest class of the show. The Training Level 3 class had ten riders, which is pretty rare for around here. Our classes tend to have five or fewer riders, so this class was HUGE by our standards.
When I saw that "2" next to my score, I practically swooned! The score was pretty nice (68%), but the placing just stunned me. I actually am good enough to compete. I am going to treasure that red ribbon forever. It's the first time that I've ever really been competitive in a class.
I went to bed on Saturday night feeling satisfied with the world. Since coming back home, I've had a bit of time to reflect, and there are a few things I want to share, but I am going to wait until I've written about the classes on Sunday. I know we did well this weekend, but like I said, I'm over it and moving on. My 12 minutes of awesomeness have passed, and it's time to get back to planet Earth. I had a great lesson on Sydney on Monday night, which was a great reminder that I am not all that.
Sunday's rides tomorrow ...
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%: