From Endurance to Dressage
I've now been showing at Third Level for exactly one year. Speedy and I have been to seven shows at Third, including this one, and I am finally starting to feel some comfort at the level. I showed up with a plan, and I was able to carry it out pretty much to the letter. I've learned what Speedy can't, or maybe won't, do at a show. He's plenty fit, so it may have more to do with desire. Long pre-rides and warm ups only serve to rid him of any sparkle. Speedy only gets better at shows; he doesn't need any extra riding to get relaxed.
As planned, I limited my first warm up to less than 20 minutes. I asked for some simple walk, trot, and canter, did a bit of sitting trot and shoulder-in, and then I asked for a flying change in each direction. That was it. I knew we were as ready as we were going to be, and rather than give away our best effort in the warm up, something that's been happening lately, I saved it for the show ring.
One way I know that I am riding a level with at least some competence is that the ride starts to happen in slow motion. We're not moving more slowly, but I find that I have more time to think about and prepare each movement. I have time to go through my mental checklist of what needs to happen to make that movement as good as I can get it. For the first time at Third Level, that's how I was able to ride the tests. That doesn't mean we killed it or anything, but our scores showed great improvement, especially in the flying changes.
For our first test on Saturday, 3-1, we scored a solid 63.784%. I could not have been happier with the result. We earned thirteen scores of 7.0, one of which was a 7.5. There are only twenty-eight scores on the entire test, which means we earned a 7.0 on almost 50% of the test. But most impressive to me was that of the six flying changes we did over the course of the weekend, we earned a 7.0 on five of them! For nearly three weeks, I worked on that left to right change, and it showed!
While test 3, our second ride of the day, wasn't spectacular, I was equally pleased. We earned a 61.375%, and that was with a two-point error. I lost a stirrup just after the extended trot and spent a few frantic seconds trying to get it back. Unfortunately, the whole debacle happened just as we were supposed to halt and rein back. Oops. The judge blew her whistle and reminded me about the missed movement. Fortunately, the rein back has a double co-efficient. We earned a 7.0, so the two point deduction for the error brought our net score down to a twelve which kept our score average at 60%
For test 3, the championship level test, we earned eight scores of 7.0. Both flying changes earned a 7.0 with the comment, "clean" on both. The half passes still need some work - 5.5 & 6.5 for the trot half passes and 6.5 & 5.0 for the canter half passes, but they were improved over earlier shows. Again, I schooled the heck out of those over the past few weeks.
Saturday was a great day. I could not have asked Speedy to try any harder, and other than missing the rein back on test 3, I didn't make any foolish mistakes. I felt like I rode the test to the best of my ability. The good news is that we're definitely getting stronger at the level which gives me hope for doing well at August's CDS Regional Adult Amateur Competition.
To be continued ...
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%