From Endurance to Dressage
Whew! Only an Abscess
Well, I was right. Speedy's recent lameness was due to a baby abscess. After leaving the poultice on for two days, I pulled off the wrap and used my hoof testers to see if I could find a sore spot. Instead, when I squeezed the testers, I made a little hole. I practically squealed in delight. I knew those things were going to come in handy!
I quickly grabbed my hoof knife and pared away the softened sole to reveal a nice little hole. I dug around some more and found a teensy tiny black line which was the abscess track.
After trotting Speedy out to check for soundness, I gave my vet a call. He suggested I make the hole as wide and deep as I felt safe doing. The bigger and deeper the hole, the higher the probability would be that I opened it up far enough to let it drain all the way. I dug it out a bit more, and then on my vet's recommendation, I packed it with gauze soaked in Betadine and rewrapped it. A poultice serves to draw out the infection, while the Betadine serves to kill the infection.
Thankfully, my wrap held on through most of Wednesday's downpour. And even though the wrap came off a few hours before I got there, the gauze was still stuffed into the creases of the frog which protected the hole for just a few hours longer. Since Speedy was shivering in the rain, I took him for a walk to warm him up - I also had to blanket him for the first time in years. Walking him gave me a chance to do a soundness check though. He trotted out 100% sound on both the grass and the hard-packed driveway.
I would have liked to rewrap the hoof for another day, but his "dry" pasture was a lake. There was no way a bandage would stay on in that mess. Given that he was sound and the hole had filled in considerably, I left it to finish healing on its own.
And then on Thursday ... To be continued.
Good Thinking, USEF
Peggy Klump is a former CDS president who lives in in my showing area. I've taken two lessons from her, and she's been my judge at least a few times. I am also very good friends with one of her former students. Since Peggy and I are "friends" on Facebook, this popped up on my feed on yesterday.
My Friend Jen puts on at least a dozen USDF-rated shows throughout the year. When USEF added the Safe Sport training to the list of things she had to verify for each competitor, her workload got even heavier. Having proof of training right there on the card will certainly make the job easier for show managers.
I haven't renewed my membership yet; I'll do it in December, but I am looking forward to a card that sports more information. Has anyone else already seen this?
Harry's Grand Prix Double Bridle
Last week I told you that I ordered a double bridle for Speedy. Yes, I know that I had said we would continue on at Third Level in a snaffle bridle, but Speedy didn't get that memo. And as someone recently said to me, "What are horses for, if not to prove us wrong at almost every turn?"
I also told you that I ordered the double from The Dressage Pony Store which is owned by my friend, Valerie. I don't get any kickbacks from promoting her site by the way, but honestly, if you need something, check out her store. While her focus is on smaller equine athletes, she does carry a lot of stuff for the big guys, and her prices are truly hard to beat.
As soon as I unwrapped the bridle - Valerie always packages everything so prettily, I started oohing and ahhing. For $135, this bridle is a steal. It's from Harry's Horse, a European tack supplier that carries absolutely everything ever made for horses and riders. I can't speak to the quality of the rest of their products, but if they're even half as nice as this bridle, I'd definitely try some of their other stuff.
Admittedly, $135 is pretty dang cheap for a bridle, especially a double, and at that price point you can't expect much. Even so, this bridle delivers. The leather is much softer than I was anticipating, the stitching is tight and even, and the buckles and other hardware are stainless steel.
The crown piece, crank noseband, and browband are all nicely padded. The crank noseband tapers along the side, which is perfect for ponies and smaller horses. I ordered the cob. The noseband is also finished with patent leather, something I wasn't too sure I'd like. But as Valerie reassured me, it's actually pretty subtle, especially since the noseband is tapered.
The noseband, both bit hangers, and the throat latch are all rolled leather, which helps keep the bridle from overwhelming a smaller face. If you have a big guy, you probably don't even think of these things, but with ponies, Arabians, and other smaller breeds, the double bridle can cover a lot of real estate, something these smaller guys don't have a lot of.
The bridle also came with two sets of reins, one for the curb and one for the bradoon. I never expect a bridle's "free" reins to be anything worth keeping, especially so when the bridle costs about as much as a nice pair of reins. I was pleasantly surprised by what came with this bridle. Both sets are leather, and one set is lined with rubber grips. Both sets of reins are ¾" wide, and the final 18" - 19" are rolled to match the cheek pieces.
While the bridle is quite lovely, fit is really the key. So how did it fit Speedy G? Take a look.
Poor Speedy; he was not a fan. He didn't fight me over anything, but he worked those bits furiously. All double bridles have a lot of buckles, but when you're not experienced at positioning everything, the process takes a while which didn't make it any easier for Speedy.
I actually quite like the gray stitching which pairs nicely with Speedy's white coat, and the patent leather on the noseband is subtle in a good way. I am not sure whether I'll use the baucher as my bradoon which is how I have it set up now, or a traditional bradoon which I also have.
I'll feel better when Chemaine Hurtado, owner and trainer at Symphony Dressage Stables, has a chance to make adjustments. For now, I'll spend the week just putting it on and taking it off so Speedy can get used to having so much hardware in his mouth.
And of course once the new browband comes in, it'll look really nice! Thank you, Dressage Pony Store!
When You Hope It's an Abscess
I rode Speedy on Thursday, gave him a visual inspection on Friday, and then tacked him up on Saturday morning. On the walk up to the arena, he took a few funky steps, but I waited until we were in the arena to ask for a trot out. Yep. Lame. But of course. I just bought him a new bridle.
The older (and presumably wiser?) I get, the less this stuff freaks me out. Don't misunderstand, I am not happy he's lame, but I also know that this too shall pass. Or it won't. Worrying myself sick about it won't change the outcome.
There's no heat or swelling or sign of an injury, so it's most likely an abscess, which has happened many times before, or it's a bruise. The only thing that will heal a bruise is time, so that's an easy fix. To check for an abscess, I pulled out my brand new hoof testers and squeezed for all I was worth. I have no idea how hard you really have to squeeze, probably harder than I can do, but he didn't react. I did notice that he didn't want to land on his heal during a trot out though, so I am guessing it's a brewing abscess.
Bandaging, whether it's for an abscess or a wound, is one thing that I am really good at. And the good thing with applying a poultice is that it can't hurt if there isn't an abscess, but it will help if there is. Speedy's been down this "sudden onset lameness" road so many times over the past few years that I feel pretty confident that an abscess is the issue.
And if it's not, well, then it's not. Either way he's definitely getting a few days off which is easy to do when you work full time and it's dark by 5:00.
Fingers crossed. Although for what I am not sure.
Newt, Meet Everyone. Everyone, Meet Newt!
All my life I dreamed of owning my own truck and trailer. Every single time I passed a truck and trailer motoring down the road, I stared longingly with envy, certain that the driver had to be the happiest human being on the planet.
When I was 29 years old, we bought Blue Truck, our second truck, but the first truck big enough to pull a trailer. A few months later we bought the trailer, a two-horse with living quarters. I really and truly thought I had died and gone to Heaven. I could not have been happier. The very first weekend that we had that trailer we went to the Sunland 50-mile endurance race. Having my own transportation meant I could go wherever I wanted, whenever I wanted.
My childhood dreams did not disappoint. Having a truck and trailer has been been just as awesome as I always imagined it to be. In the mid-2000s, my first trailer was stolen, so I replaced it with the model I have now, a Silverlite three-horse with living quarters.
That 2000 F250 Super Duty 4x4 with a Triton V-10 engine was still around though, doing her job with nary a complaint. The second trailer was bigger, but even at 15 years old, Blue Truck did her job. As you already know, last week I finally decided to trade her in for a younger model. A less likely to break down model. Something with a 100,000 mile bumper to bumper warranty.
When I told my students that I was trading in Blue Truck for a new truck, they laughed and said I should call the new truck, NEW TRUCK, because it rhymed with Blue Truck. Kids are funny. And often times right. Instead of New Truck, I shortened it to New T, or Newt.
While Newt is new to me, she's actually been around the block already. Newt is a 2019 model with only 22,000 miles on her. Buying slightly "used" saved me about $15,000. Newt is a Ford F250 6.2L Power Stroke Diesel. She has four-wheel drive, a crew cab (which seats 6), and an 8' long bed.
Before shopping for a new truck, I made a list of absolute must haves, things I wouldn't compromise on no matter what. On my list was a Ford F250 with a diesel engine. It had to be no older than 2018 and have less than 30,000 miles. It also had to have Blue Tooth, navigation, and a built in trailer brake. And I needed all of that for around $50,000.
Surprisingly, it didn't take me long to find almost what I was searching for, and actually, I got a lot more than I needed. Newt came with four-wheel drive, something I didn't need, but it's nice to have. Newt checked off all of the boxes except for one. There was no navigation system. Paso Robles Ford was interested in a sale though, so they got creative pretty quickly.
It turns out that replacing a Sync system without navigation for one with navigation is pretty simple to do. In fact, it only took a few hours. With the navigation installed on a 2019 F250 diesel with well under 30,000 miles, I signed on the dotted line. Since the navigation unit had to be ordered and installed, I asked that Paso Ford also arrange for the installation of the gooseneck hitch. I am super pleased with how that turned out.
The truck is now ready for hauling. The ball is installed and a wiring harness was also installed in the truck bed. The truck comes with the wiring for the plug at the bumper, but that doesn't work too well for gooseneck hitches, so now I have one installed in the bed itself.
Yesterday, I hooked up to the trailer. It took me a minute as I needed to get my bearings; Blue Truck had a short bed while Newt has a long bed, a difference of about two feet. After a few back and forths, I had everything lined up. I've been hooking up by myself for almost twenty years. Newt might be longer, but the process is the same.
After adjusting the mirrors and checking that the lights and brakes were working, I took the trailer for a short drive. All I did was drive the trailer out through the neighborhood and back, but that short little jaunt left me feeling quite impressed. I couldn't even feel the trailer back there.
After unhooking, I took Newt to the gas station and topped off the tank. Blue Truck's tank was around 25 gallons, but its fuel mileage was so poor that I had to get gas before I hit 200 miles. Newt's tank? It's HUGE! It will cost a fortune to fill it up, but at least I can get to a show and back without needing to stop for diesel. Twice. Sorry, Blue Truck. Your mph kind of sucked in your old age.
All that's left to do is actually go somewhere.
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%: