From Endurance to Dressage
If you follow along pretty regularly, you know that my trainer wants Izzy to go in a double bridle. The snaffle was simply not working, and the correction bit that I am using now is not a dressage bit, and according to my trainer, not likely to encourage Izzy to really take a good contact. It works great though which tells us that (for now anyway) some curb action is probably what he needs.
I ordered a Bradoon Strap Hanger from our favorite online retailer, the Riding Warehouse. Unfortunately, the horse sized strap was simply too short. I also ordered the bradoon ($13.95) and weymouth ($35.95) bits from the Riding Warehouse at prices that I thought were quite easy on the budget, especially since the double is more of an experiment than anything else.
The bradoon hanger has been returned, so now I am just waiting for the larger strap to arrive. In the meantime, I started poking around various websites in search of a fully assembled weymouth double bridle. They're pricey, of course, but I did find a version that I could (probably) live with quite happily.
The Riding Warehouse carries a Bobby's Tack Padded Dressage Weymouth Double Bridle for the ridiculously low price of $174.95/$189.95 (cob & horse/warmblood). I can always use my regular 15% off coupon code, but with the holiday sales coming up, I suspect I can get even more knocked off the price.
This bridle checks off all of my boxes. I already know going in that I am not going to get buttery soft leather, but for under $200 that's a given. On that note however, Riding Warehouse states that the bridle is "made from the finest Italian leather with scrupulous attention to detail." Works for me.
Other than leather quality (not getting premium leather on a Target budget), I am pretty picky about my bridles' details. I like simple lines without weird stitching, braiding, or colors. I don't go for patent or snake skin leathers, and I am definitely not into brown tack.
I do love monocrowns, padded everything, and crown pieces that have a cutout for the ears. Check, check, and check. This bridle has it all.
Christmas is coming, and my birthday follows the week after. I am pretty sure I can convince my husband that the double bridle would make an AMAZING birthday gift (horse size, please!). In the meantime, I can start using my current bridle as a double once the bradoon hanger gets here.
Not that I am afraid of using the double, but I am not too upset that I have to wait for the bradoon hanger as Chemaine should be back for lessons in a week and half. It would be great for Izzy if she rode him with it first. We'll see how long it takes me to get it all put together.
I've been writing about Platinum Performance since May. You can read about my research, trial period, and subsequent decision to put both boys on it here.
Even though Izzy has been on Platinum since late June, my trainer, Chemaine Hurtado, wondered if some of his excess tension/energy was coming from the Platinum. She suggested I take him off of it for a week or so and see if anything changed. I did as she suggested, but his energy level wasn't affected. Instead, he started to get pretty loose poops.
It has also been suggested that Izzy might be suffering from ulcers. While my vet hasn't scoped him for such, he doesn't necessarily feel that Izzy is a strong candidate for ulcers. Izzy doesn't fast, ever. He has hay in front of him at all times. He also gets alfalfa for about half of his ration. Alfalfa is high in calcium, a macromineral often used to help horses with ulcers. And finally, he's on 24 hour a day turnout, so he's not stall bound.
When I next see my vet, I'm going to talk to him about ulcers again. Izzy did go through a stressful period when we moved barns a few months ago, so it's possible that he has a bit of a tummy ache.
Back to the Platinum ... It took me about a week to connect the dots, but within a few days of being off the Platinum Performance, Izzy was getting pretty loose poops while I was tacking up. This is definitely NOT normal. In fact, over the weekend, his poop was more than just loose; it was absolutely ploppy.
I started to rethink the ulcer thing and did some quick research with Dr. Google. While not prescription strength, calcium and magnesium are quite commonly used in over the counter ulcer supplements that are designed to neutralize excess gastric acid.
I pulled out my current bucket of Platinum Performance and saw that both calcium and magnesium are just two of the ingredients that Platinum uses to provide digestive support. I put Izzy back on the Platinum Performance yesterday. Since he's been off of it for nearly two weeks, I only gave him half a serving. I'll take the better part of week transitioning him back to a full serving.
Since it was wet and dreary yesterday, I decided to just hand graze the boys. I don't want Izzy to feel that a halter always means a ride. Neither horse seemed to mind that no tack was involved in their day.
Hopefully Izzy's poop returns to normal as he gets back on his Platinum Performance. Either way, I'll still run it by my vet.
When people ask how Izzy is doing, I always give a little sigh and then launch into a long explanation of our daily struggle. I need to stop doing that. He's not that bad. Really. He's just not perfect, but we are making steady progress toward solid equine citizen. It's just a long journey to get there.
Having Speedy around as a confidence builder is really helping to resolve some of Izzy's tension. My new normal is to bring Speedy out first and let him graze while I go and gather up the big brown horse. Once I have Izzy in hand, I go and find Speedy who has usually wondered off to a patch of grass. I bring both boys up to the tack room. I pick out Speedy's feet first, check him over for any new bumps and scrapes, and then maybe I knock some of the dirt off.
Izzy then gets his feet picked out with the same search for dings and knocks. I saddle him, put boots on us both, and then bridle him up. After a bit of shuffling bodies around so that Izzy is in my right hand and Speedy in my left, we walk up to the arena together where Speedy gets tied in the corner.
I am sure you're sick of hearing it, but Speedy is an absolute saint. He'll stand in that corner all day without flicking an ear. No matter what happens with Izzy, Speedy waits there quietly, projecting nothing but calm and quiet vibes. As we work, I push Izzy down to the far scary end, but then we come back and do 20-meter circles in Speedy's end of the arena until Izzy feels more relaxed.
As Izzy builds more confidence, I plan to move Speedy down to the far end to see if that will help Izzy relax down there as well. It was Chemaine's idea to bring Speedy along for our rides. I would have never thought of it as it irks me to create a dependent horse. In this case though, I think Izzy really needed a friend to help him through this anxiety.
I use my friends all the time to help build confidence or work through a tough situation. It only seems fair to give Izzy the same resource. Best friend cocked an eyebrow at me the other day as she waited for me to ask her to stand in the scary corner. Izzy knows her as his human "goat" so it only makes sense that she could help him too.
I haven't asked her yet, but she's ready for it. After all, that's what friends are for!
Maybe I am not completely lame afterall; I did remember to bring my ipad home last night and even remembered to upload some video clips of my lesson with Chemaine Hurtado.
PSA - Chemaine is continuing to broaden her coverage area meaning she's willing to travel as a clinician. Did you know she rode with Robert Dover a few weeks ago? She happily works with all levels of riders from lntro Level to those in the international ranks, and she can do it all in the same day. If you are at all interested in putting together a clinic, contact her. You won't be disappointed.
None of the video clips are particularly fascinating. The audio is terrible and you might feel nauseous at times as the camera woman readjusts her position or simply forgets what she's doing. Even so, I thought you might like to see Izzy in action. Most of the time I write about what a jerk he is, but he is actually a lovely mover with a ton of talent. See for yourself.
First up, some baby leg yields. Watch it on YouTube here.
Left lead canter ... Watch it on YouTube here.
The right lead canter video is the most interesting. Chemaine asked me to canter the whole arena, but Izzy had other plans. He doesn't care for that far end, so as we approached it, he gave a hard spook, unseating me pretty good. I regrouped and sent him forward again. It took three tries to get through that spot, and even when he did agree to canter through, you can see his haunches swinging wildly. Watch it on YouTube here.
You can see why Chemaine's homework for me involved slowing him down, working on leg yielding to supple his body, and getting control of his haunches and shoulders. I've had very productive rides on him this week and have been able to finally school him rather than fight over the throttle. Having Speedy parked in the arena has reduced a great deal of tension and changing out the bit to something a bit tougher has given me some brakes.
I have the entire next week off, and I'm putting it to good use! Have a great weekend.
Not from me of course, as I am completely lame. My intended post for today was going to be video clips of my Sunday ride. They are super entertaining, especially if you like watching paint dry. I say intended because I left my ipad at work yesterday, and the video clips are on it and not yet uploaded to YouTube. Sorry?
Instead, I'll leave you with this spectacular photo taken by one of the riders who participated in this weekend's clinic with Chemaine Hurtado.
I can't resist - one last comment: what is not to love about this moment? Izzy looks well balanced, soft in the connection, and check out that jump! All of that would be good enough, but a quick look at his rider (yeah ... that's me) reveals someone who actually looks like she's allowing it to happen rather than blocking the motion. And finally, I love the connection between trainer and student. Chemaine is right there in the moment with me, encouraging and coaching.
Many thanks to the photographer, Monica, for such a lovely photo!
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 Second Level. 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%
2021 Show Season
(r) Ride-a-Test Clinic
(Q) Must Qualify
2021 Pending …
5/16-17 El Sueño (***)
5/23 TMC (*)
6/12-13 SB (***) OR
6/19-20 El Sueño (***)
6/27 TMC (*)
7/3-4 Burbank (***) OR
7/17-18 El Sueño (***)
7/25 TMC (*)
8/14-15 RAAC (Q) (***)
8/29 TMC (*)
2021 Completed …
10/24-25 SCEC (***)
11/7-11/8 SB (***)
4/10-11 SCEC (***)
2021 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
2nd Level Qualifying
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%:
Score 1: 60.610% Bhathal
2nd Level Qualifying
5 Scores/4 Judges/61%:
Stuff I Read