From Endurance to Dressage
My family was particularly generous this year for both Christmas and my birthday. My dad and stepmom sent me a very lovely gift from the Riding Warehouse, but it just didn't fit, no matter how hard I tried. It was a case of too big here and there and everywhere, and of course a smaller size wasn't available. I returned the item but expressed heartfelt thanks to my parents for their generosity. On Friday, this appeared on our doorstep.
I don't generally forget that I've ordered something, although it does occasionally happen. I first assumed it was something that my husband ordered, but when I saw the return address, Riding Warehouse, I knew it was for me. Woo hoo.
Once I realized it was indeed my package and not hubby's, I quickly made the leap that it was probably a replacement birthday gift from my parents. I was right!
I always have some items in my shopping cart at Riding Warehouse. Sometimes they're in there so that I won't forget about a recommended product, but usually they're sitting there as I finish putting together a pile worth shipping out. Like socks. I had socks in my my cart, but there's no way I am paying shipping on some socks, on sale or not.
I already have a pair of the Noble Outfitters Peddies Tall Boot Socks in a solid color that were given to me as a gift. I was surprised at how much I like them. When I saw the leopard print go on sale, I threw a couple in my cart and waited for my next order.
I've mentioned a time or two that I have a thing for breeches. I can't help it; I am on a constant quest for the perfect pair. A perfect cheap pair. I am realizing that what I like in a pair of breeches (fit, bling, contrast stitching, colors) just doesn't come cheaply. Unfortunately, my frugal nature won't let me go out and buy the $175 pair that checks off all of my boxes. With gift card in hand, I decided to see what a $100 pair of breeches might look like.
After looking at every single pair of breeches that Riding Warehouse had in stock, I chose the Ovation DX Celebrity Slim Secret full seats. This pair of breeches meets most of my "likes," especially with the stylish side pocket. I don't know how they'll fit, but I am hoping the fabric is as described. My "cuter" breeches are simply too thick for our summer time heat, so I am hoping the Dry-Lex™ technology performs as advertised.
Breeches and socks are due on Tuesday. I'll let you know what I think.
I am sure most employees give their supervisors some kind of regular progress reports. In my case, I don't give progress reports to my principal; I give them to my "customers." Of course, in the computer age, all of our grades are online which means parents can look up their child's grades whenever they feel like. It sure makes my life easier.
We don't kennel our dogs very often, but when we do, even they get progress reports. The first time we got one for Tobias, we were like proud parents of an Honor Roll student.
Both horses are about due for progress reports. Izzy's is definitely marked "great progress shown" while Speedy's says "not working to potential." Better shape up, Mister!
Izzy: This deserves a post all of its own, but we are making incredible progress every time we work. We're still not getting the canter departures on cue every time, but man is that left lead really coming along. I have had some incredible AHA! moments this past week, but like I said, that deserves it own post.
Speedy: He had three weeks off, but he did get hand walked daily. The time off is really showing. This is the first time in all of the years that I've owned him that a break brought about a loss of skills. I am actually encouraged by that since it shows we've been tackling stuff that's much harder than just trotting around with a steady connection.
He's been back to work for a week now, and while he's too mature for bucking and bolting, he has been ridiculously heavy and stiff on the left rein. I have been running through every suppling exercise that I know, but the return to that more elastic connection we had been developing has been slow. Last night I finally got a bit of what I was searching for.
Heavy rain is predicted for tomorrow which means I should try and get both boys ridden today, but my husband took Tobias hunting and asked if I would be on puppy patrol today. He doesn't ask a lot so I of course agreed. It's not that I can't leave little Miss Brienne of Tarth by herself, but at only 10 weeks old, we don't want to leave her on own for more than an hour or two.
Today is actually Izzy's day to be worked, but since Speedy has a big "thing" next weekend, he's kind of my priority right now. I'll share the "thing" as it's more set in stone. So even though it was a tropical 69℉ yesterday with clear skies, I am worried the rain will hit earlier than expected precluding my rides.
Whatever the weather in your neck of the woods, enjoy your own rides or shows today!
You know I'm pretty partial to black and white tack. I like white leg boots, white pads, black pads, black leg boots, and of course a black saddle and bridle.
Black and white works really well on white horses. It also works on brown horses, but since I really haven't bought Izzy any new tack, aside from a Smartpak bridle, I decided to to be a little daring in his spring wardrobe.
My mom sent me a hefty gift card for the Riding Warehouse, so I splurged a little on some new tack. Izzy got a second pair of DSB boots, this time in navy. Yeah, really! I didn't buy them in black ... He also got a new dressage pad, also in navy. I ordered the Weartherbetta Performance Dressage Saddle Pad in a lovely navy with gray and light blue piping.
I've been using the pad and boots for the last week or so, and I have to say, they look really sharp. The light has been pretty low in the afternoons, so I haven't been able to get a good photo to show Izzy wearing his new clothes, but I am super happy with the color combination and am now searching for other navy pads!
I am even thinking of ordering Ovation's Glitz helmet (the one I already own in black and silver) but this time in navy. I also want a new pair of Roeckl gloves, also in navy with white piping. I still have some of my gift card left, but Riding Warehouse doesn't carry that particular helmet nor those gloves in that color. Maybe I need to give them a call ...
Hello, Riding Warehouse?
I prefer to school and show in tall boots. I keep a pair of Ariat Maestros for showing; they're stored in my trailer. For the past two or three three years, I've been schooling in a pair of Ariat Volants. While I love the Volants, they haven't held up as well as I had hoped, especially for the price tag.
I am not going to blame the boots; I am hard on them. I wear them seven days a week, and while I try not to muck stalls or use the wash rack while wearing them, I do trudge around the barn and arena even when it's wet and muddy.
After looking at a few small tears in the seams of each Volant and a sole that's starting to separate, I decided to take advantage of Riding Warehouse's post Christmas sale and ordered a new pair of tall boots. After looking over the reviews and comparing them to the price of each boot, I settled on the TuffRiders.
They were cheap enough that I could buy a pair a year for three years running and still not pay what I did for the Volants. In fact, I have paddock boots that cost as much as the TuffRiders.
When I took them out of the box, I was a tiny bit disappointed, but then I reminded myself that these were $180 boots - not $500 boots. That made me look at them with a new appreciation.
Overall, the leather is very soft, but on the thinner side. It feels as though it might scratch fairly easily, but again, $180 is not very much for a pair of tall boots.
Unlike many boots, I think the TuffRiders actually run a bit on the big size. I wear a 7.5 shoe, so I normally order up for boots. I had plenty of room in the 8 and think I would have been fine with my actual shoe size. I filled in some of the extra room with inserts. Even so, thick socks won't be a problem.
On TuffRider's sizing chart, my calf (with socks and breeches) was exactly 14.5 inches, which was a "regular" calf measurement. Knowing that so many boots are actually narrower than advertised, I ordered the wide. There is nothing worse than a boot you can't zip up. As it turned out, the wide is really wide at the boot's opening, but very comfortable on the calf.
Not only is the boot sized generously in the calf, but it also has a narrow, elastic panel alongside the zipper.
I wore them for the first time yesterday, but not for riding. I actually wore them to work (from 5:45 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.). We had a special Giddy Up for Kindness event where the staff and students were encouraged to dress up in western clothes. I wore breeches and boots instead. These boots KICKED BUTT on the comfort scale. I never even once thought about taking them off. I even taught P.E. in them!
From the moment I slipped them on, they felt warm and broken in. The footbed (with inserts) was cushy, and the leather moved and flowed around my foot. The sloppiness that I worried about never entered my mind. No part of the boot pinched or rubbed. In fact, they were more comfortable than some of my everyday shoes and boots.
If you're on a tight budget, this boot is definitely budget friendly while being comfortable and attractive. For me, they will work great as an easily replaceable schooling boot. Even though they're a little "sloppy," especially when compared to my Volants, I loved the price and how comfortable they were right out of the box.
The verdict: comfortable tall boots at a great price!
Speedy has been out of work for a solid three weeks. I was disappointed at the set back, but I think he's sound enough to get back at it. On Sunday, I hacked him around the neighborhood and then did a quick 15-minute schooling ride in the arena. He didn't feel 100%, but he didn't feel lame either. He felt ... stiff.
At nearly 12, Speedy's not old by anyone's standards. Arabs tend to mature slowly and they can live a long, long time. He didn't feel old-age stiff. Instead, he just felt less fluid than he has in the past few months. In some ways, that's great news as it tells me that the work we've been doing has been correct.
On Monday, we had a bit of a Come to Jesus meeting as he acted as though he had no idea how to let go of the left rein and bend his neck. After about 15 minutes, I forget to wonder if he was sound enough for work. I focused on getting him in front of my leg and giving to that left rein. He got mad; I love Speedy when he's mad as that's when he gives me his best work.
Once he was ticked off, his forward got a lot more energetic and he insisted we canter - well okay then! From there, we worked on our canter to walk which definitely suffered over the three weeks that he was recuperating. We'll get it back.
While he still had some energy, I worked on changing the bend at the canter and was quite pleased with how well that went. A good change of bend at the canter helps with the change of lead through trot which ultimately leads to flying lead changes. The day before, during our quick school, I asked for a 20-meter counter canter circle with zero preparation and was delighted to get it both directions.
It might take us a week or two to get back in the groove, but I think Speedy's up to the challenge. I have an afternoon meeting today, but if it doesn't run long, I'll be on Speedy again today. I'm really hoping he feels sounder today. If not, we keep waiting.
And this too, shall pass.
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%
2022 Show Season
(r) Ride-a-Test Clinic
2022 Show Schedule
2022 Completed …
(*) Tehachapi 5/22/22
(*) Tehachapi 7/24/22
(***) Tehachapi 8/28/22
2023 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%:
Score 1: 62.115%