From Endurance to Dressage
A few weeks ago I wrote about my wayward, disobedient inside hand. When I ride Speedy, photos show my inside hand closer to my body than my outside hand, especially tracking right. I assumed that I was being overly strong with my right hand. It may actually be that I am allowing Speedy (and Sydney) to take the outside rein away. Hmm...
I had a lesson yesterday; can I digress for just a moment? It was awesome! I have the best trainer. I do not know how she is getting me from here to there, but she is. We may not have a perfect right lead canter yet, but gone is the whirl and bolt. We are now working on softening the outside rein so that I can begin getting some inside flexion. At the canter. To the right. Not get a canter, but improve the canter. I never thought we'd get there.
It was in the softening of the outside rein that JL "caught" me letting Sydney go with the outside rein. Once I had him listening to the outside rein, she asked me to start softening with the inside rein. Right away she coached me about not dropping the outside contact. What? But I could still feel him there. I wasn't dropping the contact. I didn't know what she meant until I glanced down and saw my outside hand sitting a good six inches in front of my inside hand. Oh.
While I hadn't let Sydney go completely, I was setting him up to be able to blow through the shoulder and lose his hind end. I had just gone through all that effort to get him straight with his butt behind his shoulders, and there I was just tossing it away. Every time I give that outside rein away, Sydney (or Speedy) loses his balance, and we fall apart.
As soon as I really saw it for myself, I was able to feel why I had to "guard" that outside rein. Sydney takes it in a very obvious way. He leans heavily on it until my hand slides forward. Once I became aware of it, I was able to keep "sponging" him off of it. Duh … keep him soft on the outside rein.
Speedy is a bit sneakier in getting me to give that outside rein. He roots at it just ever so slightly with an oh, that's not very comfortable for me. If you could just give me a little more room … ah, thank you!
I am really excited about riding him this morning as I want to see if I am right. If I am more vigilant about keeping my hands together and even, can I keep him between my aids more consistently?
I don't know what has happened to me. Just a few short years ago I was happy to be wearing my ratty old endurance tights, race t-shirts, and Troxel helmet (the white one).
Now, I am monogramming saddle pads ...
Adding bling, although subtle, to my bridle ...
And now, I have a monogrammed helmet, which actually makes my helmet look really old and funky. Good thing I bought extra monogrammed adhesives because now I want a new helmet!
Personally Preppy has been written about all over the blogosphere; you can read about them here and here. You can find Personally Preppy on Etsy or use this link. They have a lot of different monogramming styles and options, but since I am so conservative, I went with a very simple, white monogram for my helmet.
It should be noted however, that I ordered three of the stickers which means that I plan to monogram something else; I just don't know what. I am hoping that having a brand new monogram waiting to be stuck on something will encourage me to replace my rather worn-out helmet. And if the truth be told, I have had it for close to its recommended life (4 years or so).
The monograms arrived within a week of ordering. (I like fast service.) I am pretty certain that I ordered the 2 inch monograms, but I am not 100% sure. In hindsight, the 2.5 inch size would also have worked. Had I ordered the 3 inch size, I could have maybe covered up the Ovation brand mark.
The package arrived with directions, alcohol wipes for cleaning the surface of my helmet, and a small thank you note from the owners. As a bit of a warning, the alcohol removed some of my helmet's finish and left it feeling tacky. If your helmet is new, go easy with the alcohol wipes.
I have a feeling that this little company is going to do a lot more business than they expected. Their prices are very reasonable and their selection of styles and colors is huge. My total bill for three monograms plus shipping was around $17.00. We may need to form a support group!
These are coat colors, not equine maladies! And Speedy has them both.
He didn't start out with them, of course. He was actually a dapple gray when he was young, like most grays. His mane and tail were quite dark and he had white socks. He still has the white socks; you just can't see them unless he's wet.
Just a year later and his coat had already lightened up quite a bit.
And then, just days before he turned 6 years old, nearly all of the dapples are gone from his coat.
At nearly seven years old, his mane and tail were also starting to lighten.
At eight years old, his coat started to take on a bit of a silver hue.
By nine, his flea bites were making a stronger appearance, but he definitely retains the silver coloring.
He's dirty here (ten years old), but his tail is much lighter, especially at the top, and the flea bites are more pronounced.
And while Speedy doesn't sport the rare "bloody shoulder," he does have a pretty large blood spot on his neck. Blood marks are only found on gray horses, and are rarely seen on breeds other than Arabians. Blood marks are simply a large concentration of flea bites in one area.
Speedy will more than likely develop more and more flea bites until he is quite freckled with them. In his very senior years however, he may even lose that pigmentation and turn white. That's okay; I like having a horse of a different color. Each spring I get something new!
It started out looking like this.
Just 26 days later, it looks like this.
When the farrier returns on July 22, 2014, the hole will probably be gone. Yah for fast growing hooves!
I spend about $75 a month at the feed store. I don't always buy the same stuff, but it seems like the charge on my credit card is always about the same. This trip cost me $70.81 - a bargain.
I always buy at least one bag each, sometimes more, of rice bran pellets and beet pulp shreds. In the summer, there's always a bottle of fly spray, and occasionally, a bag of treats. Every so often I might also replace my Himalayan salt wheels.
The only thing missing would be some Scarlex Wound Dressing (mine is still good) and some Betadine Surgical Scrub (also still good). I buy my equine shampoo, saddle soap/conditioner, and dewormers online.
I buy my stall pellets twice a year at Home Depot or Tractor Supply by the pallet, so those don't really fit in my trunk. And while my boys eat alfalfa and/or cubes, my barn owner takes care of ordering those.
I know I tend to keep things simple, but my boys are healthy and fit. They just don't need anything else. And my while my feed store has a few tack related items, it's mostly just a feed store. In some ways, that's better. If they were a true tack store, my monthly bill would be a whole lot higher!
So what's in your trunk after a visit to the feed store?
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
(*) Tehachapi 7/24/22
(*) Tehachapi 8/28/22
2022 Completed …
(*) Tehachapi 5/22/22
2022 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
2 Scores/1 Judges/60%: