From Endurance to Dressage
When it comes to the Great Blanket Debate, I fall right in the middle. Some horses need to be blanketed, some don't. And frankly, it's none of my business if you choose to blanket your horse or not. Why anyone cares about someone else's blanketed horse is beyond me. I can only think of one exception: years ago, when I kept my horses at boarding barn, there was a woman who kept a nylon sheet on her horse in the dead of summer because she thought by forcing him to sweat, it would keep her horse "cooler." Every day, I would pull the sheet off the poor, sweat-soaked horse and rinse the crusted salt off the sheet. I would hang it dry, fold it, and put it away for her. The next day, the sheet would be back on the horse. Holy hell.
Besides that one instance, I pay no mind to what another horse is wearing. As I drove out to the barn on Friday afternoon, I decided it was time for blankets. Our local meteorologist was predicting a storm unlike anything we've seen in at least a generation. Not only were we going to get inundated with record rainfall, but the temperature was predicted to drop to near freezing with howling wind. Both of my boys have a roof, but nothing to block the wind.
That's usually not a problem as we rarely get the perfect storm of wet, windy, and low temperatures. Two of the them yes, but never all three at once. If it's wet, it's usually in the 50s. If it's blowing, again warmer temperatures. If it's freezing, it's almost guaranteed to be calm and still. My horses aren't clipped, so they stay plenty warm throughout the winter.
With such severe weather on the way, I knew my boys would appreciate being warm. It was the first time that Izzy has worn a blanket in at least two years, maybe three. Speedy wore his maybe once last winter. It had been so long that Izzy had worn a blanket that I couldn't even remember what it looked like. I keep both winter blankets in a storage bag. When I pulled Izzy's out, it still had the tags on it. He tore his last one up with his teeth, so this one is the replacement.
While I blanketed, I checked the weather repeatedly. The wind was gusting, but It was still 60 degrees. My weather app kept insisting the rain was coming, but it was a hard call to make. For Izzy, standing around in a full winter blanket in 60 degree temperature would have been uncomfortable for him. I trust our meteorologist though, so the blankets stayed on. Late that night, I heard the rain and was happy I had decided to blanket.
Our annual rainfall hovers right around six inches per year. On Friday night, we received over two inches in about eight hours. Besides being wet, it was also cold enough for some parts of town to see a light dusting of snow. When I got up the next morning and saw how much it had rained, I was grateful that I had thought to put their blanket on. Izzy hated wearing it, but I know that deep down he appreciated it.
Getting it on him took some trust rebuilding as he was pretty sure I was trying to do something nefarious. Once he realized that there was a game involved he stood rock solid as I adjusted the buckles and straps. Once the blanket was on, it was game on! These selfies are hilarious. Check out how our expressions are nearly matched. LOL
Maybe I ought to blanket more often. It was a load of fun!
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%: