I saw this over on the $900 Facebook Pony‘s page who saw it at May As Well Event‘s Page. I am usually off writing on my own little tangents, but this is a topic that I come back to now and again, especially as Speedy as I come up through the dressage levels. And so with that, here are the past ten years (plus an extra one) in photos.


This photo is from our very first show in June of 2010, just two weeks after an endurance ride. We showed Intro A and B earning 63.500% for each test. Back then, I thought that was a “low” score. Oh, the stuff I wish I had known!

Beginner’s luck?


By 2011, we were showing Intro C and Training 1. For this show, we earned a 58.500% for the Intro C test and a 56.250% for the Training 1 test. 

Still very green and a little wet around the ears.


We’ve obviously been Not-So-Speedy Dressage for a long time because by 2012, we were still showing Intro C and Training 1. In my defense, the canter work from Training Level had been pushed down to the newly created Intro C test, so while I was “still” at Intro, it was really Training Level Test 1. At this show, a USDF-rated show in Santa Barbara, Hilda Gurney awarded us a 69.500% for the Intro Test C.

Obviously ready for Training Level.


By 2013, we were firmly ensconced at Training Level where we would sit for quite some time. This photo was of a Training Level Test 2 where we scored a decent 63.214%.

He has always loved centerline.


Over the years, Speedy and I have had some big moments. We’ve earned at least five neck ribbons, won multiple championships, and have more than several trophies. Winning this particular class, the Regional Adult Amateur Competition at Training Level, was particularly memorable because before the show, several things of note happened.

​On the drive over, I stipulated that if we won with at least a 70% – knowing that would NEVER happen, I would take Speedy to the CDS Championship show. The other thing of note was that after asking me in which class I was showing, a woman stabled near me told me that her friend, who was an amazing rider, was going to win my class. She didn’t. We won with a 72.600%. True to my word, we did compete at the CDS Championship show placing 18th(?) overall for the CDS Training Level Horse of the Year.


Victory lap, and boy, was it sweet.


By 2015, we were charging through First Level with scores as high as 67%. This is one of my all time favorite photos. It’s not fancy, and in fact we scored a pretty paltry 57.765%. What I love about the photo is that it embodies how supportive my trainer, Chemaine Hurtado, owner and trainer at Symphony Dressage Stables, always is no matter whether we’re winning or bringing up the rear.

Even though we were a hot mess, Chemaine stood right there with us.


Speedy spent most of 2016 injured, although I can’t remember from which injury it was. This photo is particularly special as it was from the first time that Chemaine invited me to be one of her demo riders at the Horse Expo in Pomona. I had such a great time showing everyone that you can “dressage” on the horse you have. You don’t need a fancy warmblood. Speedy did his breed proud.

Demonstrating that all horses can benefit from dressage training.


With Speedy being injured for most of 2016, I was thrilled to have him back for 2017, even if it meant plugging through First Level again. We ended up Reserve Champions at the Regional Adult Amateur Competition, but it felt like a win to me.

He looks just as good in red as he does in blue.


By 2018, I was over First Level, so Speedy and I jumped feet first into Second Level, ready or not. It was a challenging year for many reasons, but as he always does, Speedy brought his A-game by the end of the season winning the Regional Adult Amateur Competition for the third time. We earned a ​64.268% at Second Level.

While the red pops on Speedy, we do like blue better.


And here we are. Like every year before, nothing about this one was easy either. Speedy spent all of last winter injured as we dealt with sutures and abscesses, but despite that, we managed to make the leap to Third Level and are just one score shy of a Bronze Medal. This photo represents a lot of hard work and possibly a few tears.

It’s taken a decade, but I have a Third Level partner.

2007 – Back to the Beginning

In the spirit of the challenge, I’d like to add one more photo. I think this is the first photo that I have of Speedy G. It was taken in December, the morning after I bought him. I remember thinking how calm and trusting he was. I bought him to be my next endurance horse, which he was, but I had no idea what a total rockstar he’d grow up to be. 

December 9, 2007

I love this look back over the past decade. I can’t believe that my endurance-turned-Introductory-Level horse has progressed to Third Level with flying changes and half pass. He has certainly lived up to his name, G Ima Starr FA.

Who knows what we might do in 2020!