From Endurance to Dressage
On Tuesday, Dover sent me a BOGO email. You probably got it too. I almost always just hit delete, but before I did, I thought I should at least see what the deal was about. Oh, man, I am so (not) glad that I did. It was a BOGO for the breeches that I just bought last month. The breeches that I really, really, really love.
Here's the thing. Yes, I know I have enough pairs of breeches, but some of them are on the way out. They're getting a bit threadbare. That's especially true of my really hot weather summer tights. I love those tights, but they don't have a pocket. I've decided that henceforth I will not be buying tights without a good cell phone pocket.
The Stride by Dover Saddlery® Ladies' Full-Seat Tech Tight has an AMAZING pocket. It's the best pocket I've ever had in a pair of tights, in any pair of breeches actually. I would buy these breeches just for the pocket; it's that good. Not only is the pocket great - because really, you can't ride in a pocket, the breeches themselves are freakishly comfortable. They're so comfortable that I went for a run in them the other day. I also shoved my iPhone in the pocket so I could map my speed and distance. The phone never budged, and the breeches performed better than my running pants!
I also really like my new Dover Saddlery® Wellesley Silicone Full-Seat Breech. Even at full price, $99.95, they're worth it. They're comfortable enough to wear all day, and they don't sag like SmartPak's Pipers. My only complaint is that once summer hits, they'll be a bit too warm, but that's true of every pair of breeches I own. That's why I wear tights in the summer. The only negative thing I can say about them is that while there is a rear pocket, it's not big enough for anything other than a horse treat. My cell phone fits in the front pocket, but not if I bend over or sit down.
If you're in need of a pair of breeches, Dover's BOGO sale is good on these items. The promo code is good through April 19th. Use promo code CMXBCOOL at checkout. Oh, and if you get a USEF discount - mine is always applied automatically, you'll need to delete that code as Dover will only let you use one code at a time.
Was this a case of retail therapy to alleviate boredom, depression, frustration, or a desire to boost the economy? I don't know, maybe? I liked them/needed them and had a bit of extra money to spend, so I did. Like I said. It was a BOGO I couldn't resist.
That's right. Speedy G is sixteen years old today. Man, does time ever fly.
It seems like just a few years ago Speedy was a gangly eight-year-old who I was finally starting to like. He came to me as a three-year-old, and when he hit four, I swore I'd never buy another three-year-old again. I said the same thing at four, five, six, and even seven. Young horses are tough.
But here we are, all those years later. I threatened to sell him no less than a million times during those first five years. Of course, I am so glad I didn't. Speedy may not be perfect, but he's perfect for me.
Somewhere around age ten, I realized that Speedy was dead broke. Once he hit that level of maturity, things got a lot more fun. He was trustworthy in any situation and is even more level-headed today.
But of course, dead broke and level-headed come at a price. Every birthday means he has fewer good years ahead than when he was a spicy six-year-old. Arabians tend to be long-lived, but with Speedy's issues, that might not be true for him. I try not to think about it too much. Instead, I make an effort to live in the here and now with him.
Happy birthday, my friend. And here's to many, many more!
When I bought my first Haas brush last summer, I knew I was heading down a dangerous path. I am a bit of a collector by nature, and I am fiercely brand loyal, so when I bought the next one not long after, there was no going back. I now own six different Haas grooming tools.
Riding Warehouse, my supplier of Haas brushes, recently shared a guide to Haas brushes which I found really helpful. There are so many to choose from that it's hard to know how they're different from one another. In the guide, the RW Crew grouped the brushes by categories. Since I already had three of the brushes, I recently decided to "complete" my collection.
RW's first category was Best Brushes for Tough Spots. After looking over the list, I bought two of them: the Striegel Soft Curry Comb and the Schimmel Grooming Body Brush. Neither of my horses is a fan of stiff brushes, but this is the time of year when I really do need them. Speedy's coat is so thick and dense right now that not much is able to drag through his rug of a winter coat.
The Striegel is made from a softer plastic than a lot of other curry combs. My beloved jelly scrubbers are on their last legs, and breaking in a new one just takes so long. The second I started using the Striegel on Speedy, I gasped in delight. I was shocked at how much dirt and hair, especially the hair, came cascading down. I started out gently, but in no time, I was using as much force as I wanted. Speedy just stood there resting with a leg cocked. He never fussed or flinched, even along his spine. In fact, he pressed into my hand, clearly enjoying the sensation. I really liked how light and flexible it was, and I am hoping this curry will replace my jelly.
The Schimmel is made from stiff coconut fibers, and they are stiff. This brush is supposed to work exceptionally well on grey and white horses and claims to be perfect for working stains out of the coat. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I am not saying that isn't true, but anyone who owns a gray knows that the only thing that really removes stains is a bath. I will say that this brush does a good job of removing mud. Again, I started gently, but I quickly discovered that Speedy didn't mind the stiffness of the Schimmel, for now anyway.
I used both the Striegel and the Schimmel on Izzy, whose coat is nearly all shed out, and he quickly let me know that the Schimmel is too stiff for a sleek coat. He didn't object at all to the Striegel. Once Speedy is nearly shed out, he won't like the stiffer Schimmel either. For thick coats, it works great, but if I were only going to buy one brush for tough spots, it would hands down be the Striegel curry comb. I really like it, and so do both horses.
Next up were the Best Brushes for Bringing Dirt Up. I already have the Parcour, which has become my favorite grooming tool. The bristles are firm while still being soft. I think it is because the bristles are so densely packed together. Both of my boys love to have their faces rubbed with this brush, but it's still stiff enough to lift dirt off the body, and it's especially good for legs.
And then there were the Best Brushes for Shine. I already own the Fellglanzburste Grooming Body Brush, but I wanted something with a longer bristle. The Fellglanzbürste works great on short coats; I reviewed it here. The Diamond Gloss, named for it's glittery back, is a little softer than the Fellglanzbürste, and its bristles are about a third longer.
For each of the new brushes that I tried, I let Speedy take a good long sniff before I used them on him. They must have smelled like something interesting because for each one, he took his time, giving them a solid going over. When I used the Diamond Gloss down his neck and across his back, his head swung around so quickly that I am surprised he didn't suffer whiplash.
It wasn't a pain response, but he definitely felt something new and different and wanted to know what it was. I let him check the brush out again, and he sniffed at it for even longer. Once he was satisfied that it truly was a tool for pleasure, he let me work it through his coat. It's definitely a brush meant to finish with, but even it removed loose hair and dust. I think he would have let me use it on him all day. While the Fellglanzbürste and the Diamond Gloss are both in the category of shine, the Diamond Gloss feels more like a finishing brush than does the Fellglanzbürste.
The RW Crew also put together a list of the Best Brushes for Manes and Tails and the Best Brushes for Small Hands, but those weren't brushes that I needed. Their list of the Best Brushes for Finishing Touches was one that interested me though. From that category, I already had the Diva. Since I only got it this Christmas, I haven't been able to use it yet because Speedy's coat has been too thick, but I know that he will love it at shows. In high summer, his coat is ultra fine and short, perfect for smoothing with the lambswool center.
I can't say I am done shopping though. I keep a separate set of brushes in my trailer, where the Fellglanzbürste and the Diva live. What I really want are two complete sets of Haas brushes, one for use at the barn and another for use at the trailer. My barn set is mostly complete (you never know), now I need to finish out my trailer set.
I'd say I am about half-way there.
I've decided to do it. I am getting my Commercial Driver's License. Since it's quite a process, I thought I'd blog about how to get it done in case anyone else is considering it as well. Under normal circumstances, I think you can get it done within a month. Since the DMV is not taking appointments right now, it's going to take me longer. That's okay because there's a lot that I need to do to prepare. As I complete various steps in the process, I'll share them here. Knowing if you need a CDL is the first step.
The first thing is to understand the types of licenses that you can get here in California. This info graphic offers a mostly clear explanation. Basically, you can have a:
So now that we know what kind of licenses there are, how do you know if you need a Commercial Driver's License? If you're a truck driver for hire, the answer is easy. Yes, you need one. But why in the world does an amateur who drives her own pickup truck and a horse trailer that is not for hire to a show need a Commercial Driver's License? When you start looking for an answer, especially here in California, be prepared to find a lot of confusing information on the DMV's website.
The first thing you need to figure out is your trailer's Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) which refers to the maximum allowable weight of any given vehicle. The GVWR is what the manufacture stipulates that your trailer is rated to weigh when fully loaded. That's what determines what kind of license you need. My trailer's GVWR information is under the gooseneck on a metal plate. Every trailer will have one somewhere. And actually, it has a lot of other interesting information that you might find helpful.
If your trailer's GVWR is 10,001 pounds or more, you need a Class A driver's license. The question is which one. There is a Noncommercial Class A license which permits you to haul a travel trailer with a GVWR of over 10,000 pounds. There is also a Commercial Class A license, which is also for hauling trailers with a GVWR of 10,001 pounds or more. This license is much, much harder to obtain.
It would seem that I should be able to get a Noncommercial Class A. After all, my trailer has a GVWR of more than 10,000 pounds, and I am not hauling for hire. Here's the rub: horse trailers are not classified as travel trailers, even those with living quarters. And this sucks. Big time. Those big toy haulers you see? They're travel trailers. And although they transport property, they're still travel trailers first. Those drivers are eligible for a Noncommercial Class A license.
Page 1-2 of the California Commercial Driver Handbook states, "Horse trailers are defined as property carrying vehicles and the addition of "living quarters" to a trailer does not permanently alter that vehicle for human habitation. The "living quarters" are secondary or incidental to the primary function of the vehicle, which is transporting property." That means I can't use a Noncommercial Class A license which is much easier to obtain.
On page 1-1, the handbook also states, "Horse trailers with living quarters and GVWR over 10,000 pounds require a commercial Class A DL. Restriction 88 will be added onto the DL if the truck and trailer GCWR [Gross Combined Weight Rating] is under 26,001 pounds." Restriction 88 means that even though you have a commercial Class A license, you would be restricted to hauling trailers that together with your truck have a combined weight of under 26,001 pounds.
It's frustrating that drivers of RVs, like the jumbo-sized toy haulers, are exempt from this law. Those drivers can haul a much heavier vehicle than I can, even with a Commercial Class A license. How is that fair? It's not, but until the law changes, we're all stuck with it the way it is. So, this means I am getting a Class A Commercial Driver's License. I've already started the process.
Stay tuned for more.
"Be a light." - Thomas Rhett
I read a Facebook comment from someone the other day that really struck me. This particular person is not someone I consider a friend or even someone with whom I am friendly, so her comment was even more appreciated than if someone else had said it. While she said more, her final sentence was this, "So I'm not ready to lecture anyone on this."
She was talking about COVID-19 of course, but specifically about whether or not we should leave our houses to ride our horses, ride our bikes, take a drive, and so on. Those words struck me as one of the most respectful things I've heard yet.
Yesterday, I heard Thomas Rhett's song, Be a Light, and it felt like he was singing about the situation we're in today. Right now, our world feels as though it's being ripped apart. We're shouting and screaming at one another with the absolute certainty that we're in the right. Our media source is right. Our political voice is right. Everyone else is not only wrong, but stupid, and their choices are threatening our very lives.
Before calling someone an asshole, sociopath, or a covidiot, can we first stop and consider, just for a moment, that that person feels like they're making the best choice they can for their own situation? None of us know why someone is making the choices they're making. Would it be possible to give them the benefit of the doubt? While they aren't behaving in the same way you or I would, does that make them wrong and us right? Surely someone else sees our choices as wrong and theirs as right.
The last stanza of Rhett's song speaks a truth that's hard to deny.
Yeah, it's hard to live in color
When you just see black and white
In a world full of hate, be a light.
Here's the song if you haven't heard it yet. The lyrics follow.
Be a Light
In a time full of war, be peace
Yeah. In a world full of hate, be a light.
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%: