From Endurance to Dressage
Things are getting fancy at the ranch. Remember that old trailer I used to tie to? Well, it's been hauled away, and in its place is a brand new grooming/tacking hitching rail.
The whole project took two weekends. Before we broke any ground, the ranch owner and I came up with a design. I sketched it out on a little piece of paper, and then she drew the schematics on the computer for the welder. Of course, once the project was underway, we made quite a few adjustments, but it was helpful to have an initial plan.
The first task was to haul off the old trailer which we did. Next, we removed all of the wood chips that we use to control the dust and mud which revealed the bare ground.
With our plan in hand, we positioned large stones in the corners to mark out the structure we wanted to build. With the tie rack "laid out," it quickly became obvious that we hadn't fully accounted for Izzy's longer body. We quickly added four feet to the overall length. Once we had our dimensions settled, Reggie dug the holes for the roof poles.
Once the holes were dug, the guys gathered the pipe from the ranch's stockpile of materials. The pipe was moved to the worksite and then cut to length. Four poles were cemented in place - three for the roof, and a forth to create a divider for the two "stalls."
The next task was to weld the actual tie rail although I'm using a modified crosstie.
Once the poles were cemented securely, the guys began construction of the roof's frame. Initially, we were going to have a simple hitching rail with a divider so that two horses could be tacked up at the same time without getting into one another. The idea was then tossed out that we might as well add a roof which was a brilliant addition.
Since we wanted to leave it as open as possible, we created a "T" shape so that the horses aren't in a narrow stall. This means the roof is supported by only three poles - two in the front corners and one in the center of the rear. The poles for the roof form a square which is supported by a "Y" brace in the back.
Once the roof frame was complete, the guys attached a galvanized roof laid at a slight angle. The front, right hand side of the structure is two inches lower than the left and rear to allow drainage away from the barn and entrance of the hitching rail. The galvanized roofing pieces have channels that the guys positioned so they will drain to the designated corner.
The structure needed a bit more rigidity, so we had additional support braces welded in the front corners to stabilize the roof.
We spent a lot of time thinking about how we wanted to tie the horses and hang hay nets. In an effort to reduce the amount of things that the horses could get hooked on, we chose to add two eye bolts on each of the outside poles. We laughed at how serious that conversation was because the old trailer had no end of horse-grabbing pieces that the horses lived with for years. Since we had the option of doing it better, we went with the least amount of protrusions as possible. I've clipped my Blocker Tie Ring to the eye bolt and attached a lead rope which will serve as a type of cross tie.
The last step was to fill in the low spots with sand and cover it up with wood chips to reduce the dust. Izzy likes to paw, but with the wood chips he doesn't get much satisfaction, and there's no dust cloud. Before we did that though, we gave the hitching rail a dry run. As I knew he would, Izzy immediately pawed and dug himself a little hole. The blue lead rope (attached to the pole) will serve as a cross tie, and I won't take it down. To keep him centered in the space, I'll loop his regular lead rope around the center pole which will keep him from wandering around to the outside.
Earlier this week, Reggie leveled the ground and then topped it all off with a load of wood chips. When I was out last night to bandage Izzy's foot, I was a bit disappointed at where the shade fell, but I was out much later than usual. I usually get there just after three o'clock, so once I am on my regular schedule, the shade will be appreciated.
I wanted to share the welder's contact info, but I forgot to get it. I'll add it in the next day or two as he did a really good job. If you're local and need some welding done, give him a call.
Aren't new "toys" the best? Barns, arenas, and tack rooms make a horse girl's heart sing.
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%: