From Endurance to Dressage
Holy freaking hell, people. This double bridle thing has simply been exasperating. I cannot, CANNOT, tell you how many times I have dismembered that double bridle in an effort to get the p e r f e c t fit.
And poor Speedy. He has earned himself some HUGE bonus points for putting up with the endless pinching, tugging, pulling, and conking that he has endured this past week.
Since we've been battling that abscess, I've taken the time to get him accustomed to the feel of two bits in his mouth before he has to work with them in his mouth.
Speedy loves his interactions with me, so when he is benched for any length of time, he's quick to feel left out. Bringing him out every day to not only check his abscess but play around with the double bridle lets him feel important. He doesn't really care what kind of attention he gets, so long as he gets some.
Like all double bridles, this one has what seems like an infinite amount of adjustments. After ruling out the baucher as the snaffle bit, the hanging rings made everything just too busy, I decided to use a regular bradoon as the snaffle. The next thing I had to decide was which bit to hang from the removable strap that goes over the crown piece.
My first instinct was to use that piece as the bradoon hanger. After more research though, I saw that many bridles that have this removable piece use it to hang the weymouth. So I gave that a try. That was an epic fail. I switched the bit back around so that the bradoon hangs from that strap and the weymouth from the fixed strap.
I also spent several days raising and lowering the snaffle and another few days raising and lowering the curb. Finding that happy medium where the snaffle rests just inside of the curb has not been easy.
The weymouth bit itself is a tricky beast. With shanks that rotate, it is very easy to slide the leather of the cheek piece into a shank that has rotated 180 degrees. If you're really inexperienced, like me, you might find yourself asking why the rein is attached to the front of the bit instead of the back.
Like most bridles with a crank noseband, convincing the noseband to maintain a round shape is not always easy. Every afternoon, I may have cursed a few times as I've tried to wedge the noseband in between the cheek pieces to "train" it into maintaining a round shape. The booger just won't stay where it's supposed to.
A week later, I think I finally have everything adjusted to where I like it. Of course, things may be different once I start actually riding Speedy with it. He may hate it. I may hate it. If so, we can always go back to a regular snaffle.
I don't think that's going to happen though. Speedy's a pretty good egg who tends to go along with whatever new thing I've come up with. For a few cookies, he's usually in.
I have far more to be thankful for than I probably deserve. I have a loving family, a nice house, a job with great hours and excellent pay, two dogs that know they're loved, and two horses that I adore.
On this day in particular, I'd like to say thank you for being a part of my everyday life. I write because I like to write, but it's the connections that I've made with other equine enthusiasts that make this little space so dear to me.
Thank you for stopping by and letting me part of your life.
Getting rid of a car (and a truck) and replacing it/them with a new truck is a lot like moving. You have to pack, sign A LOT of papers, swap out keys, unpack, and then figure out your new routine.
I think I am finally all settled in, but just like moving into a new house, nothing ever goes perfectly. I've had to make a few little adjustments over the past week. Figuring out my keys took longer than anything else.
Juke had a keyless ignition, one of my favorite inventions of all time. There was no actual key, just a fob, and as long as it was in my purse or pocket, I could start the car by pushing the button. I could also unlock my door by pushing the button on the handle. The best thing was that I couldn't lock my door if the fob was in the car, and believe me, I tried. About a million times.
We have an alarm system at our house. To deactivate the alarm, you enter the code at the door that leads from the garage into the house. Entering the code also unlocks the door. All of that means that I have been living a keyless lifestyle for four years. It has been fantastic.
As luck would have it, a few days before Newt arrived, our gage door suffered a fatal injury which meant replacing it. It's been ordered, but we can no longer use it until it is replaced. That means that I have had to park outside and can't use the keypad into the house. I now have to unlock the door with a key. It has been more than a little irritating to have to schlepp all of my stuff (work, barn, groceries, you name it) through the front door as I hear, "Disarm System Now... DISARM SYSTEM NOW... DISARM SYSTEM NOW" in an ever increasing tone of urgency.
Not only do I now have to use a key to unlock my front door, I also have to use a key to start my vehicle. First World problems, I know. Newt has a regular ignition, regular except for the shape of the key. It's a "switch blade" key. With the press of a button, a long narrow key pops out of the fob. Newt has keyless entry, but no one at the dealership where I bought the truck knew the code. Normally, I wouldn't have cared too much except that I have grown incredibly fond of not needing a key in my hand to unlock my door. I was also ridiculously concerned that I was going to lock my keys in the truck since I had grown lazy about knowing where the keys were. Juke wouldn't let me lock the keys inside, so I never thought twice about hitting the lock button.
Even after a half a dozen calls to the dealership in Paso Robles, no one could find the door lock code. Ultimately, I gave up and called my local dealership who immediately reassured me that they knew how to retrieve the code in fewer than 5 minutes. All it took a was a quick scan of the barcode located beneath my steering wheel. Suddenly, I was once again keyless - at least for locking and unlocking the door. I still need a key to start the engine, but at least I can liberate my keys if I accidentally lock them in the truck.
Besides getting the keys sorted out, there have been a few other getting to know you moments. I had to find a place for my Trailer-Aid to live. I had a great storage compartment behind Blue Truck's backseat, but Newt has under seat storage instead. The Trailer--Aid was too big, but it does fit nicely behind my saddle rack in the horse trailer.
I also had to find a place to store my road/travel kit. It has jumper cables, a mini air compressor, first aid supplies, flares, a flash light, and on and on. It's a handy thing to have, but it too lived behind Blue Truck's back seat. I am not sure I love where it is, but my choices are limited.
Just like moving into a new house, I immediately wanted to change the flooring on Newt. Blue Truck had a rubber floor, something we paid extra for. My husband had purchased WeatherTech FloorLiners for my Juke, something I can no longer live without. Newt has carpet and carpeted floor mats. Yeah, no. In fact, that's a hard no. Before Newt had been in the driveway for 48 hours, I was already clicking options to determine my floor's configuration on WeatherTech's website.
Rather than two mats, one for the right and one for the left, WeatherTech makes a single liner that stretches from the driver's side over the center hump to the passenger's side. As you would expect from WeatherTech, the liner fits precisely and snugly.
Since I go straight to the ranch after work without stopping by the house, my barn boots and clothes live behind my seat in the truck. No matter how well I rinse my boots before tossing them in the back, they're still dirty. No matter whether I touch a flake of hay of not, it still finds it's way to the truck. My back floor mats get dirtier than the driver's side mats do. I had to have a rear floor liner, too. Like the one for the front, this one is also a single piece that stretches all the way across the floor. I am insanely happy with how well both liners fit and look.
Were they cheap? No. The set, with tax and shipping, cost $266.86, but it was totally worth it. They fit better than the standard mats, and they really keep the dirt under control. I can either do a quick vacuum, or when they get really dirty, they pop right out and can be hosed off.
Newt and I are still getting to know each other, but I already love her. Nothing against Blue truck, but it's amazing how quiet "new" can be. Sirius Radio, Navigation, Blue Tooth, back up camera, and a dashboard computer that reads like a NASA switchboard don't hurt either.
I am looking forward to our next show so I can really flex Newt's engine muscles. That's the real reason for getting a truck like this, power. And I ready to start wielding it!
Speedy is "sound," but he's still recovering from last week's abscess.
Last week, I poulticed his foot until I found the abscess. When he seemed sound a few days later, I wrapped it with a Betadine compress for two days and then left him to finish healing on his own. A day later he was lame again.
I got out the hoof testers yet again to confirm that he was still sore where the first drainage hole was, and then I got to work with the hoof knife opening the hole up even wider and deeper. I repacked it with a Numotizine poultice and left it to percolate for three days.
I pulled the poultice, scraped it clean and put the hoof testers on again. He was a tiny bit sensitive at the hole, but you know, HOLE in his foot. I asked for a quick trot out on the pavement. He was a bit off, but then he jogged out sound on the grass. Hoping that the abscess had cleared, I packed it with gauze soaked in Betadine.
I next wrapped that in brown gauze. I find that the brown gauze stabilizes the Betadine soaked gauze pads and gives the whole thing a tiny bit more of a cushion.
Next, I use about three-quarters of a roll of a cohesive bandage like Vet Wrap or Co-flex, whatever I last bought on sale. This just keeps everything in place.
The last step is to secure the whole thing with duct tape. The more the better. I can't stress this enough. Use more than you think you need, and then throw on a few more strips. Personally, I use the wrap it around and around method followed by layers of strips. I like to do a layer running east and west followed by a layer running north and south. Sometimes, I then do another wrap around layer, or 4.
We're due for some very heavy rain on Wednesday and Thursday. Even if Speedy looks sound this morning, I am rewrapping it through the weekend until the mud dries back up. Our December show is already off the table. I'm going to do my best to see that we make it to a spring show.
Keep your fingers crossed for us. We're in need of a little luck.
I have never been a bumper sticker type of person. In fact, I like my vehicles to be pretty nondescript. While I like subtle colors, we have had a couple of "loud" vehicles. My red Juke comes to mind as does our fiery red Honda Accord (sold long ago). The rest of my vehicles have been dark green, dark blue, dark gray, and Newt's color which was described as magnetic metallic. I insisted that that is NOT a color; it's an adjective, but whatever, it's subtle.
A few years ago though, Chemaine Hurtado, owner and trainer at Symphony Dressage Stables, gave me one of her Team Symphony stickers. Suddenly, I was a bumper sticker driver.
And then Chemaine gave me another one.
And then Chemaine gave me something for my license plate.
With that, it was on.
My Riding Warehouse sticker was first.
The Dressage Pony Store was next. If I need it to fit, this is where I am looking.
When I received that sticker from SaddleBox, I knew right where it was going.
Newt came to me free of any tags, so I remedied that right away.
Now I need another sticker from Chemaine for Newt. I sure hope she has some!
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%: